a publication of Life Action Ministries
Imagine revival movements everywhere!
Fall 2010 Volume 41, Issue 3 www.LifeAction.org/revive
CONTENTS COLUMNS 3
Spirit of Revival
The World Has Yet to See by Byron Paulus
What About Now? by Del Fehsenfeld
20 From the Heart
Whatever the Cost by Nancy Leigh DeMoss
30 Next Step
Expect Great Things by Daniel W. Jarvis
4 Interact Reader feedback and more
Awakening In India with Samuel Stephens
21 Looking Back
Welsh Revival 1904: What Was It Like to Be There?
22 Hard Questions
24 Real World
Is Revival Our Work or God’s?
Have you ever wondered, “How would revival
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.
Rediscover why prayer for the outpouring of the Spirit is vital to revival
27 Making It Personal
When God Comes Down
26 Prayers for Change
10 Imagine Your Life Revived Mark Bearden
Apply the principles discussed in this issue
14 Praying BIG David Butts
Executive Director: Byron Paulus Senior Editor: Del Fehsenfeld III Managing Editor: Daniel W. Jarvis Assistant Editor: Kim Gwin Creative Director: Aaron Paulus Art Director: Tim Ritter Senior Designer: Thomas A. Jones Production: Wayne Lake Volume 41, Issue 3 Copyright © 2010 by Life Action Ministries. All rights reserved.
Revive magazine is published quarterly as God provides and made available at no cost to those who express a genuine burden for revival. It is financially supported by the gifts of God’s people as they respond to the promptings of His Spirit. Its mission is to ignite movements of revival and authentic Christianity. Life Action does not necessarily endorse the entire philosophy and ministry of all its contributing writers. We do not accept unsolicited manuscripts or pay our authors for content. We grant permission for any original article (not a reprint) to be photocopied for use in a local church or group setting, provided copies are unchanged, are distributed free, and indicate Life Action Ministries as the source. Many Revive articles are also available online. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. We do not share subscriber information with other organizations. To purchase additional copies of this issue, to be placed on our free mailing list, or to contact the editors with feedback or questions: Life Action Ministries • P.O. Box 31 • Buchanan, MI 49107 • 269-697-8600 • info@LifeAction.org • www.LifeAction.org/revive
SPIRIT OF REVIVAL
The World Has Yet to See
n a story that has captivated the world’s attention for more than two months, 33 Chilean miners remain trapped 2,300 feet below the surface. Darkness and doubt have taken an enormous emotional and physical toll on them. Experts say there is no quick or definitive end to this real-life nightmare. But rescue efforts are underway, and the hope of deliverance has captured their imagination—in fact, it’s the only thing that keeps them going. A. W. Tozer understood the power of sanctified imagination in a believer’s life: “A purified and Spiritcontrolled imagination is the sacred gift of seeing—the ability to peer beyond the veil and gaze with astonished wonder upon the beauties and mysteries of things holy and eternal.” Rehearsing the great things God has done (Psalm 143:5) awakens and stirs our vision for what’s possible with God. The stories of Abraham, Moses, David, and the prophets, along with the miracles of Jesus and the apostles, shape our imagination of how God might work today. So too do accounts of how God has moved powerfully in church history, through men like Martin Luther and the Reformation, or George Whitefield and the Great Awakening, among many others. Even today, we hear fresh accounts of how God is still doing miracles across the world—of thousands converting to Christ and churches being planted in places that have never heard the gospel of Jesus before. And yet, for some Christians, stories of God’s power in answer to prayer are just that—ancient history or faraway trivia. When it comes down to it, I suspect many of us really don’t believe that we’ll ever experience God that way, let alone see sweeping revival in our own life or church or nation. I wonder why? God hasn’t changed. And the problems we face, while dire, are not unprecedented. After all, are the moral and spiritual problems in America today really any worse than they were in
Nineveh when God had mercy on that great city? Or than in Sodom and Gomorrah when God promised to stay His judgment if even a remnant of ten righteous people could be found? The lesson is clear: God’s desire is that none perish, but that all come to repentance. This is still true today. The choice before us as believers is the same choice that faced the churches in Revelation—if they would repent, God would rescue and restore their vitality. That’s why I believe now is the time for an authentic movement of Christ-exalting revival in our nation. In this issue of Revive, we want to challenge you to imagine revival movements everywhere—not just in a faraway land, not just in a history book, but here, now, in your life. Life Action has been setting the sails to catch the winds of revival for 40 years. We’ve seen firsthand that revival is really possible for individuals, families, and churches; for those who pray, who obey, who sacrifice, and who give their all to His mission. D. L. Moody was once challenged by this statement: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him.” “He said ‘a man,’” thought Moody. “He did not say, ‘a great man,’ nor ‘a learned man,’ nor ‘a smart man,’ but simply, ‘a man.’ I am a man, and it lies with the man himself whether he will or will not make that entire and full consecration. I will try my utmost to be that man.” Why not be that man or woman who lets revival begin in you? n
Now is the time
for an authentic movement of Christ-exalting revival.
Byron Paulus Executive Director
INTERACT Revive asked Bob Lepine, co-host of FamilyLife Today and teaching elder at Redeemer Community Church in Little Rock, Arkansas, “If God were to bring revival to your church, what would change?” Here’s his response:
I am fortunate to serve with a leadership team at our church that loves Jesus and loves His church. And I’m grateful for a congregation of humble, hungry-hearted people. So what would revival change? First, there would be an insatiable hunger to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection while we share in His sufferings (Phil. 3:10). At the same time, we would guard our hearts against the knowledge that “puffs up”—the knowledge that is disconnected from love (1 Cor. 8:1). Second, our too often shallow and brief times of personal and corporate prayer would be replaced by deep and regular seasons of supplication and thanksgiving, acknowledging our total dependence on God and crying out to Him for ourselves and for others, asking Him to do what only He can do in our lives and in our world. Third, there would be a growing desire to live set-apart lives and to say no to ungodliness and to renounce worldly passions (Tit. 2:12) without becoming proud, haughty, censorious, or self-righteous. Fourth, there would be an increasing transparency about our lives and our struggles. Instead of seeking to hide our sins and to look good, we would live lives of perpetual brokenness, honestly acknowledging to God and others where we need the Spirit to work in us (Prov. 28:13; Ps. 32:5). Finally, it would be not a duty but a delight to love our neighbors who are as we once were—dead in trespasses and sins. Our hearts would be filled with compassion for the lost, longing to see them come to a saving knowledge of Christ (Eph. 2:1-9). If you asked yourself the same question about your church, what would your answer be? Share your response at revive@LifeAction.org. We would love to hear from you!
Do you have any comments or questions about this issue of Revive? Has God changed your life as a result of the truth presented? We enjoy publishing questions, responses, encouraging stories, and even critiques from our readers. Send us your thoughts. Write to Revive Editor, Life Action Ministries, P.O. Box 31, Buchanan, MI 49107, or e-mail us at revive@LifeAction.org. (We do edit letters for length and clarity. Please include your city and state.) If you missed our last issue of Revive magazine, you can purchase a back copy from our online store or freely print off the articles from our website at your convenience. Just log on to www.LifeAction.org/Revive or call 800-321-1538.
What About Now?
ast week I had a near fatal encounter . . . with a flying canoe. It sailed off a passing truck and made like a missile toward the windshield of my family-laden vehicle. All the moments of our lives—all six of us—were almost brought to conclusion in that terrifyingly absurd one. It missed. Well, almost. We came to a stop in a nearby standing cornfield, the driver’s side mirror violently sheared off. And, strangely, I have rarely felt more alive. My entire being was full of sweet gratitude and awareness of God’s presence and protection. Unexpectedly, I was ushered into the sacredness of the present moment, only to discover that God was already there. It’s not a moment I am accustomed to. Sadly, much of my life is spent in preoccupation. Past disappointments, future concerns, and persistent comparisons consume so much mental and emotional real estate that there is little room for more. And maybe that’s the problem, not just in my daily life but also with my approach to my spiritual life as well. I hear stories of revival happening with other people—other churches growing and multiplying, other countries seeing demonstrations of God’s power. I read about how God has worked in the past. But I can’t help but wonder, “What about me? What about here? What about now?” The startling truth is that all the past moments of my life are irretrievably gone. And all my future moments can’t be controlled by waiting or worrying. That leaves me with now. Now is the only moment I can actually live in—thus the only moment I can encounter God: Most of us have set conditions in our minds, and we think that when those criteria are met, that will be the beginning of great moments. We think the great
God Is Closer Than You Think by John Ortberg, pp. 71-72. Ibid, p. 27.
adventure of partnership with God lies somewhere in the future. We tell ourselves that we will grow closer to God someday when our kids are no longer small or demanding, or when the pressures of work lighten up, or when we become more disciplined, or when our motivation level is higher, or when we just magically grow up into spiritual maturity. Some people go through their whole lives in this frame of mind. “God is closer than you think” means he is available in this moment right now. Always now. Only now.1 Because life with God is lived one moment at a time, I can start right now, right where I am. I literally can embrace God’s Spirit— His presence and leadership—in every moment of my life. The following foundational truths about life with God have been very impacting to me:2
Since God is closer than I ever imagined, so is revival.
• God is always present and active in my life, whether or not I see him. • Coming to recognize and experience God’s pres- ence is learned behavior; I can cultivate it. • My task is to meet God in this moment. • I am always tempted to live “outside” this moment. When I do that, I lose my sense of God’s presence. • Whenever I fail, I can always start again right away. • No one knows the full extent to which a human being can experience God’s presence. Since God is closer than I ever imagined, so is revival. In my case, it took a flying canoe to make that point. n
Del Fehsenfeld III Senior Editor
When God Co Revival
is a season when God causes the normal ministry of the gospel to surge forward with extraordinary spiritual power. God hits the fastforward button, and the blessings spill out from the church to wash over the nations. He is able to rend the heavens and come down with unexpected demonstrations of His saving power (Isaiah 64). He is able to reinvigorate us (Psalm 85) and heal us (Hosea 14). And He is able to pour out His Spirit on us (Joel 2). When we see that God is the great Life-giver and that we sinners are by nature the living dead, the whole biblical story stands forth as a thrilling account of reviving mercies. Jonathan Edwards observed: If we look through the whole Bible and observe all the examples of prayer that we find there recorded, we shall not find so many prayers for any other mercy as for the deliverance, restoration and prosperity of the church and the advancement of Godâ€™s glory and kingdom of grace in the world.1 Revival praying, therefore, lies in the mainstream of Godâ€™s kingdom purpose.
Raymond C. Ortlund Jr.
mes Down So what can God do among us? What happens when God comes down on His people? • People thirst for the Word and receive it with tenderness. • The grip of enslaving sin is broken. • Reconciliation between believers is sought and granted. • Spiritual things capture people’s hearts. • A defensive, timid church is transformed into a confident army. • Believers joyfully suffer for their Lord. • Usefulness to God is treasured more than career advancement. • Communion with God is avidly enjoyed. • A spiritual movement draws large numbers of people to the gospel. • Divine grace washes over the church and spills out onto the world.
My plea comes down to this: Let’s not neglect revival in our lives and churches. It’s biblical. It’s right. Let’s trust God so much that we follow His Word. None of us has long to live. Why not do something boldly radical before you die? Don’t whittle what’s possible with God down to the narrow confines of your comfort zones. Pray for more of Him than you ever have before. And then go beyond praying. Expect Him to show Himself near to you in new ways that will delight you and honor His name. Venture your whole personal fulfillment on God, withholding nothing. Imagine what God can do. n
Edwards, The Works of Jonathan Edwards (Banner of Truth Trust, 1834; reprint 1979), vol. 2, 291.
Dr. Ortlund is the lead pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, TN, and a council member with The Gospel Coalition.
Four Revival Authenticity
Wes le y ’s S oc i e t i e s
R ev i v i n g New Yo r k
England at the beginning of the eighteenth century was a spiritual cesspool. Drunkenness was rampant, and gambling was so extensive that one historian described England as “one vast casino.” Newborns were exposed in the streets, and 97% of the infant poor living in workhouses died as children. The divine remedy was the 18th-century revival that transformed England and America in the 1730s. This revival cut across denominational lines and touched every class of society. One of the primary leaders in the awakening was John Wesley, who organized thousands of converts during the revival into what he called “societies.” Wesley’s societies were characterized by intimate sharing of personal spiritual experiences. These were not merely “prayer and share” groups, but an attempt to live godly lives through accountability to others in the group. The depth of honesty and vulnerability practiced is evident from the questions drawn up for each meeting: 1. Do you desire to be told your faults? 2. Is it your design to be entirely open . . . without exception, without disguise, and without reserve? 3. What known sins have you committed since our last meeting? What temptations have you met with? 4. Has no sin, inward or outward, dominion over you?
It was not a good time for churches in downtown Manhattan, and the North Dutch Reformed Church on Fulton Street resorted to creative measures, hiring a businessman named Jeremiah Lanphier as a sort of outreach minister. He knocked on doors in the neighborhood and distributed pamphlets and Bibles, but response generally was dismal. “One day as I was walking along the streets,” Lanphier wrote in his journal, “the idea was suggested to my mind that an hour of prayer, from twelve to one o’clock, would be beneficial to businessmen.” The idea blossomed: a weekly prayer time open to anyone, bankers to broom-pushers. Come when you can, leave when you must. Handbills advertised the first meeting—at noon on September 23, 1857. Lanphier waited for the first attenders. No one showed up for thirty minutes. Then one man straggled in, then another. The hour ended with six men present, praying. The following week there were twenty, the next week forty. Soon a hundred. Rooms were packed. The church had to ask another church to handle the overflow. When churches ran out of room, the prayer meetings moved to theaters. By March of 1858, the New York Times could report that Burton’s Theater on Chambers Street was packed as famous preacher Henry Ward Beecher led a crowd of 3,000 in prayer. Some estimate that up to a million people became Christians in the 1857–58 revival.
Remarkably, the discipline of the Methodist societies created a perfect environment for Christians to grow.
Taken from 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer, by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen, copyright © 2003, Baker Publishing Group.
Adapted from The Disciplined Christian Community Under John Wesley, by Rev. Benjamin S. Sharpe Jr.
T he M o ra vi a ns a t H e rrn hut
Th e Wa l l C o m es Down
Imagine that you have a big house and ample land. Imagine further that over 300 homeless Moravian refugees begin showing up at your door asking if they might camp out in your backyard for awhile. Something like that happened to a 22-year-old German nobleman in East Germany in 1722. His name was Niklaus Zinzendorf, the heir to one of Europe’s leading royal families. At first, divisions and discord threatened to undermine the community. However, they were moved to repentance for their divisions, and on August 13, 1727, they experienced a powerful outpouring of the Holy Spirit. A twenty-four-hour-a-day prayer chain was organized in which at least two people were at prayer every hour of the day. This prayer meeting would last over 100 years. Anthony, a former slave, came to speak at Herrnhut of the deplorable conditions of the slaves in the West Indies. That night, two of the young Moravians could not sleep as they struggled with a sense that God was moving their hearts to offer themselves to go and minister to those slaves. When they were told that perhaps the only way they could do this was to become slaves themselves, they said they were willing if that was what it would take. Leonard Dober and David Nitschmann left Hernnhut on August 25, 1732, to sail for the West Indies as missionaries. Within 25 years, more than 200 had gone out as missionaries from this small community to every continent of the world. This refugee-crowded estate was transformed into one of the most dynamic and strategic missionary launching pads since the early church. Taken from Glimpses, Issue #127, published by Tyndale House.
In 1989, a prayer meeting had a profound effect on a society. For several years, four churches in Communist Leipzig, East Germany, had been holding weekly prayer meetings every Monday evening at five. After the prayer meetings, people would light candles and walk peacefully through the city streets, a gentle protest against the Communist regime. The peaceful protests only grew. As many as 50,000 eventually joined in. Then came October 9, what Germans began to call “the turning point.” The East German government got involved, sending in police and soldiers with orders to shoot the protesters. Many feared a bloodbath. When one church opened its doors for the weekly prayer meeting, two thousand Communist Party members rushed in to take all the seats. No problem: the church opened the balconies for the usual protesters and, like it or not, the Communists had to sit through a prayer meeting. Did prayer silence the weapons? That’s what many German Christians believe. Amazingly, shots weren’t fired that night in Leipzig as 70,000 people marched peacefully through town. Or the next Monday, when 120,000 marched. Or the next, when there were 500,000—nearly the entire population of Leipzig. In early November nearly a million marched through the capital, East Berlin. Police defied orders to shoot. The president resigned in disgrace. And soon there was an opening in the famous Berlin Wall. The stunning developments spread throughout Eastern Europe as peaceful revolutions dismantled Communist regimes. Taken from 100 Amazing Answers to Prayer, by William J. Petersen and Randy Petersen, copyright © 2003, Baker Publishing Group.
Imagine Your Imagine if revival came to your own life. How would it feel? What would be different? Revival has been described as an accelerated, intensified work of the Holy Spirit in our lives. And I can testify to that—twenty-five years ago, my dead-weight faith was radically transformed into something vibrant and real. My encounter with revival was so life-changing that I’ve spent the years since taking the message of revival to churches across America, with Life Action Ministries. Again and again, I’ve seen the incredible impact revival makes on people’s lives.
How The Spirit Changes Us Isaiah 11:2 foretells the results of the Spirit’s presence in the life of Jesus and provides a model for what happens in our lives when we experience the work of God’s Spirit. “The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.” The Spirit brings understanding. I remember a man who, after meeting with God, made the decision to quit a job that had been the source of much immorality in his life. Leaving meant that he would give up a significant bonus as well as future financial security. As he wrestled through this choice, he finally looked at me and said, “I guess the question is, ‘How much money is my marriage and family worth?’” His desire to honor God took precedence over every other concern. The Spirit brings counsel. A woman shared with me that for years she had assumed that every sorrow that came into her life was God’s punishment for a past sin she had committed. As she experienced revival, she began to believe the truth that she was forgiven. Her trials were simply God’s loving way of maturing her as His daughter. For the first time, she had peace.
a hypocrite!” On another, a woman sat motionless with her face in her hands. A man approached me and said, “God told me tonight that if I didn’t confess my adultery, I would die!” I certainly had not said anything like that, but when the fear of God came, this man saw his sin in a brand new light.
Let Revival Begin in You! Ask God. James clearly says, “You do not have, because you do not ask God” (James 4:2). Ask God for a unique encounter with the Holy Spirit in revival. I ask God for these special seasons of His grace on a regular basis. Jonathan Edwards believed such seasons of revival were the primary way the church advanced. Embrace repentance. Repent of any known sin and ask God to reveal any blind spots. Sins like bitterness, jealousy, and idolatry will hinder the Spirit’s work in our lives. This cleansing process can be painful, but the joy at the end is well worth it (Matt. 5:4). Forgive. It is no accident that after the model prayer Jesus gave the disciples (Matt. 6:9-13), the only aspect He went on to comment about was the consequences of unforgiveness (vv. 14-15). Unwillingness to forgive is a sin
Life Revived The Spirit brings power. I’ll never forget a mother who told me how she had grown angry and bitter at God after facing her young son’s terminal illness. In a profound spiritual moment, she found strength to surrender her pain and thank God for the trial. The freedom she subsequently experienced was incredible. For the first time in years, laughter and joy returned to her household.
The Spirit brings the fear of God. It’s amazing what happens when holy fear settles on a church. On one occasion I remember seeing people under such conviction that they were spread out through the auditorium. On one side a teenager wept and embraced his father, crying, “I don’t want to live as
against God’s grace toward us, and it puts us in a prison of bitterness and resentment. Right wrongs. Clearing our conscience with those we have sinned against is part of the process of realizing the full manifestation of God’s Spirit in and through our lives (1 Tim. 1:5, 19). As you seek forgiveness, take 100% responsibility for your own actions, leaving the responsibility of others with God. n Mark is a revivalist with Life Action Ministries, focusing on intercessory prayer. For details about scheduling Mark in your church, call 800-321-1538.
.com Resource Watch a powerful message on prayer by Mark Bearden on Life Action’s Revive Media Channel, your go-to place on the web for revival media. Visit LifeAction.org/imagine.
In 1971, Life Action started with one couple and a vision to see revival in America. Forty years later, 200 staff members serve through five outreaches, impacting hundreds of thousands of lives a year. Local Church Ministry Designed for the entire church family, Life Action revival summits and THIRST conferences provide a one-of-a-kind experience for reconnecting with God and transforming relationships. Theyâ€™re times of seeking God for a personal and corporate outpouring of His Spirit.
Revive Our Hearts This counter-cultural ministry calls women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. Women receive daily encouragement in their walk with God through radio programs, conferences, books, and websites. Nancy Leigh DeMoss hosts two nationally syndicated radio programs daily.
Life Action Camp Located on beautiful Clear Lake in southwest Michigan, the Life Action Camp offers yearround programs including summer and fall family camps, father/son weekends, and marriage retreats. Our family-centered camp is the perfect way to take a vacation that will impact your loved ones for eternity.
The Lodge This beautiful, serene setting in southwest Michigan provides a place for pastors and leaders to take a break from the demands of ministry and find spiritual renewal and physical rest. Our leadership retreats and pastorsâ€™ retreats provide an environment to come away and regain perspective, vision, and victory.
Collegiate Impact This ministry brings the message of revival and renewal to college campuses across North America. Collegiate Impact assists campus ministries in a number of significant ways. They conduct special meetings, provide speakers for retreats and conferences, facilitate an Intercessory Prayer Network, and hold forums to educate and equip campus leaders.
Praying Incredibly, we come into the throne room of heaven when we pray. Jesus Christ has literally given us access to the control center
BIG of the universe!
For the last seven years, I’ve served as chairman of the National Prayer Committee here in the United States. I have a real burden to pray for our nation, and as I look at our nation, I see a desperate need for revival. But as I travel across the country, I sadly have to admit that I’m not hearing the kind of praying that will produce revival. I don’t hear bold praying. Instead, I hear “wimpy” praying. Do you know what I mean? “Well, God, I’ve got an idea, and I’m not sure if You’re interested, but if You are, here it is. Now do whatever You want.” This kind of prayer comes out of our mouths, dribbles down our chins, and falls on the floor. There’s nothing that causes it to rise to heaven. There’s no power there, no confidence, no faith. The Bible teaches us to pray differently. In fact, God’s Word commands us to pray boldly, to pray with confidence: “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, emphasis added).
A TRAGIC PICTURE The apostle John gives us a picture of the beauty and majesty of the throne room in the book of Revelation. Around the thrones of the Father and the Son are four living creatures—angelic beings whose sole task throughout all of eternity is simply to cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty” (4:6-8). And around these four living creatures are twenty-four elders with crowns of gold, and they’re continually taking their crowns and casting them at the feet of the Lord and worshiping Him (vv. 9-11). As if that were not enough, John says the throne room of heaven is filled with many thousands of angels who are gathered together in joyful assembly (5:11-12). What an awe-inspiring place! But in my imagination, at the back of the great throne room is a little door. When we begin to pray, the door opens, and we walk out into the very center of the throne room. And then we intone, “Dear heavenly Father, we thank You for all You’ve given us. Lead, guide and protect us. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Prayer is the way God has chosen to accomplish His will on planet earth.
As we leave, you can hear the angels saying, “That’s it? That’s all he’s going to ask for? He had the attention of the Creator of all things, and he closed his eyes, muttered a few little phrases . . . and left?!” With this picture in mind, the pressing question for the church today is, “How can we move from wimpy to bold praying?”
HOW TO PRAY BIG There’s a group of Christians whose story is found in the book of Acts who, I believe, give us a very practical model for how we can learn to pray with boldness. Their story is found in Acts 4, and providentially we have a transcript of their prayer meeting: The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people. They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead. They seized Peter and John, and because it was evening, they put them in jail until the next day. . . . Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. . . . After further threats they let them go. On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them. When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. . . . “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. . . .” After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly. Wow! I want us to look at their prayer, because there are several principles here for bold praying:
They paid attention to Who they were talking to. Sometimes we have a tendency in prayer to rush into God’s presence with our prayer list, but we don’t consider Who’s on other end of the conversation. But look how they
began this prayer: “Sovereign Lord, you made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and everything in them” (v. 24). Here’s an extremely important principle: When the focus of prayer is our needs, faith fades. That’s one reason we so often find ourselves scared and timid in prayer. For example, we find out that we’ve lost our job or we have cancer or a loved one is dying, and suddenly we’re overwhelmed by fears and concerns and anxieties. We bring these concerns to the Lord, but we’re not really focusing on the Lord—we’re looking at our need! These early Christians were able to pray this amazingly bold, effective prayer because they began by paying attention to Who they were talking to. Their focus was on the power and promises of God, not the serious predicament they were facing. This simple change of focus can change your prayer life forever.
They prayed according to the Word of God. The disciples began their prayer by quoting several verses from Psalm 2 back to God (Acts 4:25-26)—and then they based the rest of their prayer on that passage of Scripture. Why would they do that? The psalm they chose is all about God’s Messiah. It talks about how the nations and the kings of the earth are going to rise up against the Messiah. But as you read on, it tells how the One who sits enthroned in heaven scoffs at them (v. 4). And then about halfway through Psalm 2, we are privileged to listen in on a conversation between God the Father and Jesus the Son. Jesus is speaking, and He says of God, “He said to me, ‘You are my Son; today I have become your Father. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your inheritance, the ends of the earth your possession’” (vv. 7-8). Do you get this? The Father promised Jesus the nations as His inheritance! The early church, led by the Spirit, saw this, and they said, “Wow, this is great! The Father has promised Jesus all nations, and Jesus told us to preach the gospel to the nations. Now, the authorities in Jerusalem just said, ‘You can’t preach anymore.’ So, Lord, grant Your servants boldness to proclaim Your Word, and, Lord, get involved. Do whatever it takes to allow the Word to go forth with power so that Jesus can receive His inheritance.” That’s why they prayed the way they did. Here’s the point: Their prayer was not a way of getting things from God. It was the way God had chosen to accomplish His will on planet earth. They understood that their lives and circumstances were for the purpose of participating with God on earth.
.com Resource Listen to Dave’s message on bold praying in its entirety on our Infuse podcast at LifeAction.org/imagine.
This truth represents everything in prayer. If you get this, you get it all. The God who initiates prayer has given us the amazing privilege of praying for His will, and as we do, His power is released to accomplish it. That’s why Jesus taught us to pray, “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).
They prayed big prayers! What would a little prayer have been, in their circumstance? Well, imagine it. The believers are crowded into a house in Jerusalem, standing with leaders who have just been released from prison. Someone is probably cleaning the wounds Peter and John received from getting roughed up by the authorities—maybe wiping off some blood or dirt. Just weeks before, these same authorities had killed Jesus. How would you have prayed? I think my prayer would have been: “Help us! Protect us! Keep us safe!” But that was not their prayer. Instead, theirs was a big prayer that focused on the plans and purposes of God. It is not wrong to pray a little prayer. I pray a lot of prayers for protection. There’s nothing wrong with that . . . unless that’s all you ever pray. What God is waiting on—and what the world desperately needs—is for the church of Jesus Christ to rise up and begin to pray the big prayers that shake heaven for God’s kingdom to advance on earth. They had no sooner finished their prayer than the building began to shake, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit again, and they immediately began to speak the Word of God with great boldness (Acts 4:31). According to the book of Acts, within five weeks of that prayer meeting, the teaching of Jesus had filled the streets of Jerusalem. Within the lifetime of everyone in that prayer meeting, they had turned the world upside down. When is the church going to experience this kind of power again? If it’s going to happen in our lifetime, we’ve got to learn to pray big, with great boldness. n Dave is the president of Harvest Prayer Ministries in Terre Haute, Indiana.
ViewPoint Awakening in India
Recently, the Lord allowed me (Dan Jarvis) to visit India to help India Gospel League train village pastors. It was one of the most defining moments of my spiritual life, and I now agree with the adage, â€œThe American church needs India more than India needs the churchâ€?! Revive was able to ask Pastor Samuel Stephens some questions about how God is working in India.
Samuel Stephens Spiritually, what is happening in India today?
Samuel: India is definitely experiencing a great spiritual awakening. We saw the first wave in the late 1970s when the gospel was reaching areas that had never heard of Christ before. Large numbers of people began responding to evangelism efforts. This continued through the 80s and 90s. During this period, the Jesus film was used extensively. Miracles were almost the norm in these new areas, heightening peopleâ€™s receptivity level. The church grew rapidly during these years. In 1992 the India Gospel League initiated a church planting movement called Vision 2000. The goal was to plant 1,000 churches by the year 2000, through the ministry of 200 church planters. Over the next eight years, the number of church planters involved in this initiative as well as the goal kept growing, until over 20,000 churches were planted. Now, ten years later, more than 60,000 such churches have been established in previously unreached villages, and other ministries are also experiencing dramatic results.
With such rapid growth, how do you help the new believers grow as disciples?
Samuel: Enormous numbers of new believers must be discipled. The challenge is first to help them come out of a very dark religion filled with evil practices and superstitious beliefs. Then, as they understand the Christian faith, they need training and equipping to effectively communicate it with others. The fact that a majority of them have very limited literacy makes the task more difficult and complex. Our ministry has developed a systematic, multilevel Christian education program that is carried out in all the local churches. Leaders are trained and equipped to teach others through small groups and regional conferences.
What factors have brought India to such a place of spiritual openness and church growth?
Samuel: Prayer is the first and foremost factor. A lot of focused prayer was mobilized during this period.
Indigenization of the church, I believe, has been another important factor. Starting in the mid-90s, Western missionaries had to leave because of growing opposition and persecution. As a result, personal lifestyle evangelism by believers became the norm! Christianity has come to be accepted as an indigenous faith lived by the locals rather than a foreign religion to be mechanically propagated.
What personal sacrifices do the individual church planters make?
Samuel: The church is growing today on the foundations of real sacrifice by thousands who are committed to this pioneering enterprise. They have a deep, unwavering sense of God’s call on their lives to move into difficult and remote areas, with the vision of seeing the gospel planted in those communities. They exist on the bare minimum of life’s physical requirements. They walk and move by faith, daily trusting the Lord to provide for every need. Many face persecution and tribulation. They are beaten and physically and emotionally abused, and they live under constant threat to their lives. Their steadfast obedience to God’s call to ministry is so great that they are willing to sacrifice their very lives. The Lord is using them and their witness powerfully in both life and death. Two days ago, I prayed with a pastor and his family whose house and belongings had been burned. But the family has refused to move away, believing that God has called them to minister in that region. This is not an uncommon testimony.
What is a typical prayer meeting like? What type of requests do the believers bring before God?
regularly spend up to several hours in prayer every single day. They often fast and pray several days in a month. Every church has at least one monthly gathering for all-day and all-night prayer. When they pray, they cry out to the Lord in sincerity and faith. Most of the prayer requests are centered around revival of the church, ministry-related needs, persecution, redemption of the community, concerns for the nation, etc. Prayer for individual needs and healing are low on the list of prayer priorities.
What advice can you give believers doing God’s work in areas unresponsive to the gospel?
Samuel: First of all, it is time for the church to seek God’s face and find out where we have gone astray. We need to seek God’s wisdom in helping us break free from some of our traditional ways of thinking and patterns of doing ministry. It is my observation that some of the methods we have adopted for presenting the gospel have, to some degree, turned people away. They are either obsolete or simply inappropriate. Of course the timeless message never changes. But methods must change according to the context and the times in which we live. If God is inviting us to move in a different direction, are we willing and ready? Another important New Testament lesson that the church needs to adopt once again is to engage every believer in mission. I believe that training and equipping believers for everyday ministry and witness is critical. n Samuel Stephens is the president of India Gospel League, a large church network that is multiplying among the unreached, rural villages of India. Learn more at www.IGLworld.org.
Samuel: Christians, especially the new believers, are very committed to personal and corporate prayer. The leaders’ lives and ministries are immersed in prayer and fasting. These people
.com Resource Read the full account of Dan’s trip to India at LifeAction.org/imagine.
FROM THE HEART
Whatever the Cost
believe now is the time for us to seek God for a movement of reformation and revival in the hearts and homes of Christian women—a Word-driven, Christ-exalting, counter-cultural revolution that will take back the ground that has been given over to the world’s way of thinking for so many years. But swimming in the stream of God’s grand and holy purposes means a willingness to swim upstream— against the flow of this world. What that looks like may depend somewhat on your season of life. Teens—it means being willing to follow Christ and His Word when it seems that all the other girls your age are consumed with beauty and guys and self and sex and having a good time. It means setting your affections on Christ, guarding your heart, choosing the pathway of purity, becoming a truth-speaker in your generation when all the peer pressure is pushing you to go in the opposite direction. Single women—it means choosing the pathway of contentment, becoming willing to be married or single, whichever state God has for you for His glory and the sake of His kingdom. It means using this season in your life to serve the Lord without distraction. It means being willing to remain sexually pure, into your twenties and thirties and forties and beyond. It means being a servant of the family of God. Married women—it means being faithful in a world of broken promises. It means loving your husband, praying for him, building a marriage that glorifies God. It means being faithful in the good times as well as the bad, saying “yes” to your high and holy calling of being a helper to your husband, reverencing him as the Scripture exhorts, submitting to him as a picture of your submission to Christ Himself. Mothers—it means embracing the calling of being a giver and nurturer of life. Don’t let the world dictate
how many or how few children you should have. Let God give you a vision for the impact your children and grandchildren could make for His kingdom throughout the generations to come. It means a willingness to do battle in prayer for the souls of your children, refusing to concede them to the clutches of the Enemy. Older women—it means choosing not to spiritually retire. It means not settling for a life consumed by golf, bridge, meaningless activities, and preoccupation with self. There are too many younger women who need your counsel and encouragement, too many struggling sisters who could be uplifted by your love and prayers. Your time has not passed you by. You are still being called “for such a time as this.” You’ve certainly heard or read how salmon swim upstream to deposit the eggs that contain their young. The journey can leave them bloodied and beat up by the rocks, current, and obstacles they face along the way. But they are determined to give birth, to produce life. And when their mission is accomplished, they die. You say, “Who would want to choose that path?” But what a picture this is of the heart of Christ—the heart of Calvary—swimming upstream, fighting against the tide, being bloodied and beaten on His way to giving spiritual life even at the cost of His own physical life. I’m asking God to raise up a great host of women— women of courage, faith, compassion, humility, and wisdom—women filled with Jesus “for such a time as this.” Will you join me in that mission? Will you be a part of that counter-cultural revolution, whatever the cost? n
Will you be a part of that counter-cultural revolution?
Nancy Leigh DeMoss Revive Our Hearts radio host
Excerpted from Nancy Leigh DeMoss’ closing challenge at True Woman ’08.
.com Resource Join the counter-cultural revolution by visiting ReviveOurHearts.com and by reading Voices of the True Woman Movement from which this article was excerpted.
Welsh Revival 1904: What Was It Like to Be There? By now all the converts have long gone to be with the Lord, the One they met in that momentous year. But in the late 1970s and 80s, I was privileged to meet and interview quite a few of them and to ask about those days of awakening. They spoke of full churches, with meetings continuing, unstoppable, into the early morning hours; of sudden dramatic conversions that stunned local communities; of improvised coal miners’ prayer meetings underground; and, of course, of the morning newspapers full of headline stories about Evan Roberts, the young revivalist with his team of singers, as they spiritually took the South Wales valleys by storm in the winter of 1904. Some newspapers even printed special editions noting the number of converts in each village! It has been estimated that 100,000 people were added to the church during the revival. Yet there was something else I learned from these witnesses, a hint of which is found in the words of R. B. Jones, himself a revival preacher who sought to sum up the revival in his book Rent Heavens (1930). He emphasized that it wasn’t just the incidents and phenomena of the revival that were important. They were “incidental” and often “phenomenal,” but they were only the effects of the awakening, not its cause. For him, the “outstanding feature of those days” was “the universal, inescapable sense of the presence of God.” “The Lord had come down.” To focus on the effect before the cause would be to miss the point. Primarily, the revival was about the presence of God being manifested in the personal and corporate experience of the people. The hymns they had sung for decades seemed more true, more real. Holiness was sought, not enforced. The Bible was recognized as a living, sharp, two-edged sword. Prayer became evidence of a relationship with God.
Preaching was transformed from a rhetorical, poetic performance into a real spiritual message. It became like “a fire shut up in my bones,” and like Jeremiah, preachers and believers generally were “weary of holding it in”—indeed, they could not (Jer. 20:9). The God of 1904 was no different than the God of 1903, nor is He any different this year. He has not changed. Yet in the flammable mix of God’s purpose and man’s seeking by prayer and submission to Jesus, a spiritual explosion spread nationwide. Thousands experienced the truth of James 4:8: “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
The God of 1904 was no different than the God of 1903, nor is He any different this year. And the believers of Wales were not disappointed. They felt God’s presence. I asked one elderly convert why the revival had faded by 1906. Without hesitation she answered, “The revival that I experienced in 1904 is still today burning in my heart!” Yes, God was still near. n Kevin Adams was born in South Wales and has authored two books and a film on Welsh revival history. He is the senior pastor of East Baptist Church in Lynn, MA.
.com Resource Kevin Adams’ Diary of Revival is a captivating documentary of the 1904 Welsh Revival. Order your copy of this video at LifeAction.org/imagine.
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Hard Questions Is Revival Our Work or God’s?
Okay, I know I’m not going to solve the mystery of how God’s sovereignty interacts with man’s responsibility in one article! But here’s my thesis: When men refuse to do the work of God, revival will not take place. Dr. Richard Fisher
ow, I am not suggesting that we can
wrestle against God and somehow thwart His will. But the choices human beings make about seeking Him are a critical part of the story of the Bible and all of history. And that means that in one way or another, you and I have a part to play in revival. In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve in His image. They were to be His hands and feet, His mind and heart, His representatives on earth. Man was created to walk in fellowship and harmony with God, and to finish the work God had begun by transforming the chaos outside the garden into order, just as God had started in creation (Gen. 1–2). This idea is foundational to ancient Hebrew thought— the image bearer did the work of God. But the Bible tells us that life as God intended it did not last. Adam and Eve used their position and freedoms selfishly. They chose to disobey God by fulfilling the lusts of their flesh. And in spurning life, they brought death. This is where the story of redemption becomes amazing. God’s response of mercy to His image bearers was totally unexpected and wonderful. He promised to rescue them from death and restore them to life. And ever since, God has been engaged in the work of revival. He is calling humanity back to life with Him.
An integral part of this miracle of restoration is when redeemed people reclaim their calling as the image bearers they were created to be— that is, they reengage God’s work in the world.
An integral part of this miracle of restoration is when redeemed people reclaim their calling as the image bearers they were created to be—that is, they reengage God’s work in the world. God still calls people to do His work. He still delegates to faithful men and empowers them to be His representatives. In fact, the Bible gives story after story of God’s calling men of faith to be part of the work of redemption. After the fall, God called Noah to do His work, and even commissioned him as He had commissioned Adam (Gen. 9:1-7). God called Abraham to bless the world, and worked in his life to “complete” it (Gen. 12–25; Phil. 1:6). He called Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt and help give birth to a holy nation, whose purpose was to work God’s plan of revival (Exo. 3–4; 19:4-6). God still wants to work in and through His image bearers today. The apostle Paul reminds us that our calling as believers is to be ministers of reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20). Our purpose on earth is to participate with God in rescuing the perishing and facilitating revival. Ultimately, we have this big choice in life: Will we respond to God’s call to help bring revival, or will we hinder the plan and quench the work of revival? The illustration of farming is a great picture of the relationship between God’s work and man’s work. Man does not create the seed; God does. Nor can man provide the life energy that makes it grow. Man also cannot send the rain or cause the sun to shine. However, God expects man to till the soil, plant the seed, protect the seedlings, weed the garden, protect the maturing plants from harm, deal with natural crises, and finally reap the harvest. God has designed creation so that man plays an important, interactive part in the successful outcomes of any life project. The same is true in revival. God imparts life, but we do the “footwork.” God wants to involve His family in everything He does. Paul called the Philippian church to this “partnership in the gospel.” They had begun to understand what it means to buy into the plan of God by giving to the work financially (Phil. 4:10-18), but Paul challenged them to catch the full vision of what they could accomplish with God’s power unto the salvation of lost souls. These principles of participation are clearly stated in Philippians 1:3-6 and 2:12-18, and they give us an
excellent model for what it takes to participate in God’s reviving work: 1. The work is a partnership. God is the major partner. He develops the vision, and we work the plan. God supplies the life, and we take the message of life to the perishing (1:5-6; 2:12-13). 2. The work is personal. God calls us to work out our own salvation (2:12-13). The work we do for God flows out of the genuine work He has done in us. This will be obvious to others as we “shine forth the word of life” and refuse to let complaining or arguing dim our witness (2:14-16). 3. The work is progressive. God has given us a franchise—a salvation franchise. We have joint ownership with God, partnering in the ministry to restore mankind to life and truth. This is a great responsibility (Luke 12:48); much is required of us. But we are not alone. God is working in us to successfully accomplish His magnificent work. He owns the company—“The Kingdom.” And He puts all of His wisdom, power, and wealth at our disposal. 4. The work is profitable. God wants to celebrate the joys of revival with us in the day of Christ (2:16-18). This is a victory celebration. All the redeemed will shout for joy, and those who worked with Him will receive the crown of glory (1 Pet. 5:4) and the crown of righteousness (2 Tim. 4:8). 5. The work is promised. God will continue to do His part until the work of salvation is completed in Christ as promised. Since we can trust God to do His part, we can freely give of ourselves, in the fashion that Jesus gave of Himself, to do our part (1:6; 2:5-11). n Dr. Richard Fisher served at Moody Bible Institute for over 27 years. He currently works to train leaders for effective ministry at Grace Church in Bath, Ohio.
Real World Have you ever wondered, “How would revival change me?”
A Love Story My husband hunted and worked, and I raised the kids. We communicated very little . . . just the bare minimum. Most attempts to reconnect our family quickly became arguments. We truly lived separate lives. He did his thing, the kids and I did ours. My heart was tough.
We asked several ordinary people who attended a Life Action summit how revival had impacted them. Desiring to cause no hindrance to God’s working in those related to these testimonies, names have been withheld.
When Life Action came to our church in April, God totally transformed our home. But I still had a deep secret that I was suppressing—about seven years prior, I’d had an affair. I feared that if I exposed myself, I would possibly destroy what I had been praying for the past two years. Into the second week of our revival, I knew I had to confess to my husband. In our room that night, I held his hand, and I confessed. I confessed more than the affair. I confessed darker secrets about the condition of my heart. He never let go of my hand! He even prayed over me and for the condition of my heart! He forgave me that night. Honestly, I expected a fight, anger, “How could you,” someone leaving in the night . . . anything other than forgiveness. The very next night, the revivalist offered a chance for all couples to participate in a renewal of wedding vows. My husband was the first to stand! It was such a precious moment for us. That night we married each other as Christians with a Christ-centered covenant. We now tell people our anniversary is in April as opposed to November!
For as far back as I can remember, I experienced almost constant bouts of depression. During my early adult years, my bitterness was fueled by further disappointments and hurts, as well as failures in other relationships.
When the Life Action team was at our church, I rededicated my life to Jesus and asked to be totally cleansed and made whole. I want to share all the prayers God answered in the next six months:
As I married and began to have children, I found that virtually every area of my life was negatively affected by that bitterness and hurt. My children and husband bore the brunt of my angry outbursts, periodic rage, and chronic depression.
• My son was saved, after 19 years of prayer and tears to see that day. Not only that, God allowed me to be the one to lead him to Jesus over the phone!
During the summit, I began to see that I was not just a victim of the people and circumstances that had hurt me, but that I was personally responsible for the ways I had chosen to respond to those hurts. The process of healing did not take place overnight. There were many steps of repentance, humility, and obedience. But with each hurdle there was a fresh supply of God’s grace. I began to experience deliverance. What joy, freedom, and victory I have experienced through exchanging remorse for repentance, blame for personal responsibility, bitterness for thanksgiving, and falling apart for true brokenness!
• While visiting my family for Christmas and New Year, my brother-in-law, mother, and niece were saved. • After I came home in January, my daughter rededicated her life to Christ, and her fiancée, fiancée’s sister, and friend were saved. • Then my other son was saved, and so was his fiancée and her daughter. All this to say, please remember that when one life is changed, it has an effect on many more. To God be the glory—He is awesome!
NEW Release Revive magazine is excited to announce the release of a terrific new book on revival, A God-Sized Vision (Zondervan, 2010), by Collin Hansen and historian John Woodbridge. This book tells the stories of historical revivals from around the world, encouraging believers to pray expectantly for God to send revival today. As the authors remind us: For many years it was common for evangelicals to read stories of revival around the world. This practice reminded believers that we need nothing else, nothing less than the power of God to prevail over the enemies that prey on our complacency. . . . But our problem today may be worse than mere forgetfulness. We have never even heard many of the revival stories. They’ve been lost. Reading A God-Sized Vision will help you recover an understanding of the extent to which God works in revival, while helping you prepare and pray for wide-scale revival in your church and community. Purchase or find out more at www.zondervan.com.
.com Resource Watch an interview with a pastor who recently hosted a Life Action summit, as he tells stories of the extraordinary impact of revival. Visit LifeAction.org/imagine.
Prayers for Change The Forgotten Factor Just like a valuable heirloom can be forgotten in the attic, priceless biblical truths can also get misplaced by subsequent generations. Unfortunately, this can happen with spiritual riches related to prayer. Specifically, what “prayer riches” has our generation misplaced? While several could be addressed, imagine with me what might happen if the church rediscovered, dusted off, and began to practice prayer for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Throughout American history, prayers were offered that centered on the outpouring of the Spirit. Samuel Willard, one of Harvard’s first vice presidents, wrote about how crucial it is for each generation to experience the outpouring of the Holy Spirit so that society does not degenerate and so God’s purposes are accomplished. And Jonathan Edwards, leader in America’s First Great Awakening (1734–45) and considered by many to be the greatest theologian born on American soil, stated that the primary way God carries out His redemptive, worldwide plan is through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Why is the outpouring of the Spirit vital? The outpouring of the Spirit accelerates and intensifies God’s activity in people’s lives. Evangelism, repentance, and reconciliation increase because God is literally revealing Himself among us, as Paul promised in 2 Corinthians 6:16 that He would do. The outpouring of the Spirit is how Jesus is glorified. Because the outpouring brings with it the fruit of repentance, the more people who repent, both within and outside of the church, the more Jesus is magnified (Acts 2:33; 3:19). D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones summed it up like this: “Revival is an outporing of the Spirit. It is something that comes upon us, that happens to us. We are not the agents, we are just aware that something has happened.” God wants to bless us with His presence through the Spirit, but we must humble ourselves and intentionally ask Jesus to pour out His Spirit upon us (Luke 11:13; 1 John 5:14-15).
Dave Warn is the director of Collegiate Impact, an outreach of Life Action Ministries.
Making It Can I Really Be Revived? Do you have trouble believing that revival could really happen in your life? The Psalmist David could relate. He faced overwhelming obstacles just like we do. But he didn’t let his life be defined by these factors. Instead, he cried to God for mercy and discovered God’s process for revival. The following exercise, based on Psalm 143, traces each step in this process.
Remember – “I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done” (v. 5). •
What was your life like before you received Jesus as your Savior? __________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ •
What has changed in your life since you started to follow Him? ___________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ •
What are some specific times God has worked in your life? _______________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
Anguish – “I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land” (v. 6). •
What do you tend to turn to in times of need? _________________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ •
How would you express your need for God right now? ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________ •
What are you doing to cultivate desperation for God? ___________________________________ ______________________________________________________________________________
Trust – “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you” (v. 8). •
In what ways do you listen for God’s Word? (check all that apply)
___ Reading the Bible regularly ___ Small group Bible study ___ Praying daily ___ Attending church faithfully
List the last three situations in which you had to walk by faith rather than by sight.
___ Memorizing/meditating on Scripture ___ One-on-one discipleship ___ Fasting ___ Prayer meetings
1. ______________________________________________________________________________ 2. ______________________________________________________________________________ 3. ______________________________________________________________________________
Obey – “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God” (v. 10a). • Are you quick to admit wrong and seek forgiveness? • Do you grieve over your sin? • Are you transparent with others about spiritual needs in your life? • Do you take personal responsibility for disobedience?
Y o o o o
N o o o o
Check any areas of personal disobedience that may be hindering revival: ___ Bitterness ___ Greed ___ Gluttony ___ Anger ___ Sexual sin
___ Lack of prayer ___ Mismanagement of money ___ Misplaced priorities ___ Overuse of media ___ Pride
Depend – “May your good Spirit lead me” (v. 10b).
___ Selfishness ___ Neglect of God’s Word ___ Lack of church attendance ___ Workaholic lifestyle ___ Hypocrisy
• Do you regularly ask God to empower and direct your life? • Do you faithfully pray for the needs of your spouse and your children? • Do you earnestly intercede for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit in your life, church, community, and nation? •
Y o o
N o o
List anything that stands in your way of total dependence on God: _________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________________
Envision – “For your name’s sake, O Lord, preserve my life” (v. 11). •
What drives you? Rank the following motivations in order of the priority they really take in your life:
___ Money ___ Friendships ___ Possessions ___ Reputation ___ Pleasure ___ Love for God and people ___ Achievement ___ Guilt ___ Fear • How do you spend your time? Fill in the number of hours you spend weekly on the following: ___ Friendships ___ Serving others ___ Leisure/hobbies ___ Television/movies ___ Prayer ___ Bible study ___ Family time ___ Internet ___ Entertainment • What do the following verses teach about God’s vision for your life?
Proverbs 3:5-6 _____________________________________________________________________ Matthew 6:33 _____________________________________________________________________ Matthew 22:37-38 __________________________________________________________________ Matthew 28:19 ____________________________________________________________________ John 14:15 ________________________________________________________________________ Ephesians 5:18 _____________________________________________________________________ Philippians 2:14-15 _________________________________________________________________ What steps does God want you to take to more fully accomplish His vision for your life?
1. _______________________________________________________________________________ 2. _______________________________________________________________________________ 3. _______________________________________________________________________________
Overcome – “In your unfailing love, silence my enemies” (v. 12). Imagine if you experienced God’s power in revival today: • • • • • • •
What attitudes would change? ________________________________________________________ In what areas would you experience victory over sin? ______________________________________ In what ways would your relationships change? ___________________________________________ How would your use of money change? _________________________________________________ How would your use of time change? ___________________________________________________ Who would you share your faith with? __________________________________________________ In what ways would you pray differently? ________________________________________________
Thank God that He is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us! (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Expect Great Things
illiam Carey has been a hero of mine since high school, when I read a biography about his life and work. He was a pioneer—a missionary before it was popular to be a missionary. In fact, after pleading with a ministers’ gathering in England to take on the Great Commission, William was famously interrupted by an older (and obviously cranky) pastor: “Young man, sit down! When God chooses to convert the heathen, He will do so without your help or mine!” Carey, a shoemaker, hung a world map in his shop and prayed for awakening in faraway lands. He felt God’s call to personally take the gospel to India. In the economy of his day (late 1700s), this meant leaving the comforts of home, enduring a long sea voyage, putting to shore in an area unfriendly to the gospel, having no insurance and very little assurance that things would work out or that he would ever see his home again. To add to the difficulty, Carey’s family and friends thought he was insane and tried to talk him out of going. His wife initially refused, but Carey plodded on. She grudgingly agreed to join him, but later in his ministry she literally went mad and tried to kill him after one of their sons was taken with a tropical fever. He faced tremendous financial setbacks, resistance from governments, sicknesses and dangers. Like the Apostle Paul, Carey was “hard pressed on every side, but not crushed” (2 Cor. 4:8). In the long view, however, Carey’s ministry became one of the most influential in Christian history, inspiring generations of missionaries. Carey translated the entire Bible into Bengali, Sanskrit, Hindi, and other tongues, and portions of Scripture into more than thirty dialects. At the same time, he also labored to create dictionaries for these languages, translating classical Indian works into modern dialects. He rejoiced to see Indian believers holding freshly translated Scriptures in their hands for
the first time, the name of Jesus penetrating the unreached subcontinent. Carey also founded a college (in his free time, no doubt), helped secure social reforms in India (such as banning sati—the burning of widows on their husbands’ graves—and outlawing child sacrifice in sacred rivers), and started a newspaper entitled Friend of India. His mission station in Serampore became a model for missionaries the world over, earning him the title “Father of Modern Missions.” While Carey himself never saw the full fruit of his labor, it can be said today that millions have been led to Christ from the seeds he planted in the late 1700s and early 1800s. His tireless devotion to Christ and to the people of India changed that nation and, due to the extended influence of his missionary challenge, changed the world. Carey’s motto was as well known to his associates as it is today in missionary circles: “Attempt great things for God; expect great things from God.” He could have prayed over his world map in England and stopped there, continuing to make shoes and hoping God would somehow do the work. But Carey did both—he prayed, and he attempted something that seemed impossible. I have read and re-read the story of William Carey, and as I ponder what revival would look like today, in my own life and church, I wonder: If a shoemaker can touch off a worldwide missions awakening and lay the groundwork for millions to enter the kingdom, what does God want me to do? What kind of display of spiritual power might God have in mind for our generation through a few who give themselves entirely to Him? • What plan am I a part of that is so bold only
God could make it work? • Am I doing the work of faith-filled prayer? • How am I taking responsibility to complete
the Great Commission?
What It Really Takes William Carey, along with his colleagues and their families, entered into the Serampore Covenant in 1805. It sheds light on the kind of commitment, heart, and sacrifice required to lay the groundwork for revival. These statements were reviewed three times a year:*
1. Set an infinite value on men’s souls. 2. Acquaint ourselves with the snares which hold the
minds of the people.
3. Abstain from whatever deepens India’s prejudice
gainst the gospel.
4. Watch for every chance of doing the people good.
“I hope, dear father, you may be enabled to surrender me up to the
5. Preach “Christ crucified” as the grand means of
Lord for the most arduous, honorable,
and important work that ever any of the
6. Esteem and treat Indians always as our equals. 7. Guard and build up “the hosts that may be gathered.” 8. Cultivate their spiritual gifts, ever pressing upon
them their missionary obligation, since Indians only can win India for Christ.
9. Labor unceasingly in biblical translation. 10. Be instant in the nurture of personal religion. 11. Give ourselves without reserve to the Cause,
“not counting even the clothes we wear our own.”
sons of men were called to engage in. I have many sacrifices to make. I must part with a beloved family, and a number of most affectionate friends. Never did I see such sorrow manifested as reigned through our place of worship last Lord’s day. But I have set my hand to the plough.” These were the words of William Carey, shortly before he set off on a most risky and unpopular venture—to carry the gospel to India.
Daniel W. Jarvis Managing Editor
*Abridged; full text available in the 1884 edition of A Short History of Christian Missions, by George Smith, page 163; archived at Google Books.
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