Saturday, March 25, 2017

Revival Thoughts

I get so fired up about what would happen here if the Spirit were to work in extraordinary power among us. The signs of revival would be obvious. We would experience a raging hunger to hear and obey God’s Word; overwhelming awe of God and a desire to glorify him; true sorrow for sins and a commitment to get things right with God and each other. We would see lost people coming to Christ for salvation.

Genuine revival is a sovereign work of God. We can’t demand it, manufacture it, or schedule it. But we can prepare for it. Preparation begins with a commitment to pray for revival; with a sense of desperation; with a hunger for more of God. We will pray like this: “O Lord, give us revival. And start with me.” It’s no coincidence that the Acts 2 revival in Jerusalem was preceded by ten days of concerted, intense prayer” “Send your promised Spirit.”

The question is this: will you commit to pray?

Leonard Ravenhiil was correct when he wrote:

“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

Pray! Don’t delay! This is urgent. This is the need of the hour. We need revival. Pray now!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Revival Thoughts

Revival is not necessary. What is necessary is the ordinary, invisible, steady, work of the Holy Spirit and the Gospel. The ordinary work of the Holy Spirit is to keep us in faith, following Jesus, growing in grace. This is good and normal most of the time. It will get you all the way home (Romans 8:28-30).

Revival is not necessary, but it is very, greatly, deeply, desirable. When the Holy Spirt visits a church in extraordinary power, he sets the church ablaze and it leads many to Jesus and salvation and new loves. And most of all it glorifies God.

On June 20, 1630, during a church service at the Kirk o’ Shots in central Scotland, a revival broke out. The church was meeting outdoors for their annual celebration of the Lord’s Supper. The crowd was large - drawn from all over the area by the Holy Spirit.

In 1669, Robert Fleming wrote about it:

“There was so convincing an appearance of God, and down-pouring of the Spirit. . . that near 500 had at that time a discernible change wrought on them, of whom most proved lively Christians afterward … many of the most eminent Christians in that country, could date either their conversion, or some remarkable confirmation in their case from that day.”

When I read about that outpouring, I want it. I want to see it here, now. Don’t you?

Every day, at 9:00 am., a notification pops up on all my devices. It says, “Revival Generation.” It’s a reminder to stop what I’m doing and to take a moment to ask the Lord to make us a revival generation - and to start with me. Would you consider adding this to your daily prayers? “Lord, please make us a revival generation - and start with me.”

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Hearing God's Call

As we come to Him, we can have confidence to pray that He will come to us.  David heard God's call to seek His face and made it a lifelong pursuit.  In Psalm 27 David says,

One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to seek Him in His temple.
(v. 4)

As David sought God's face, he grew in confident hope that God would bring His transforming goodness into the predicaments in which David and his people lived.  That is why he called for a persistent kind of prayer that would not let go of God's promised goodness:

Wait on the Lord;
be strong and take heart
and wait for the Lord.
(v. 14)

David sought God's face, which led him to seek God's kingdom in full-hearted hope.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Co-working with God

As you pray and display God's kindness
in practical ways, watch for God-given
opportunities to share His love.
They can come up suddenly with
such perfect timing that it's hard
not to believe that you are
co-working with God.

Simplicity and sincerity:
Following God's Lead

Instead of dreading evangelism as something
that will make you a bother or a bore,
you will find yourself following God's lead
with timely authenticity and 
heartfelt sincerity.

Confidence to be His story-teller

Because you've been praying along with
God's Word and heart, don't be surprised
to find that ideas to creatively convey
God's love occur to you.

As you pray God's story, you will find
confidence to tell your own story to
communicate the Gospel in fresh,
relevant ways.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Seeking God for the City Makes a Shift

This devotional 40-day season has two parts.

During the first 11 days we've been seeking God's face - claiming Zechariah 1:3, "Return to me... that I may return to you."  It is today that a shift happens and the devotions will nudge us to seek God's kingdom.

I hope that you have found God in face-to-face nearness over the past 11 days.  As you turn your attention toward him, his love will examine you - lifting and changing you.

To seek God's face means that we are coming to God.  To seek God's kingdom means we are callling for God to come to us.  We want his presence moving in our homes, neighborhoods and throughout the entire city.  We may not be able to do either without doing both.

We pray with this in mind over the balance of our 40-day devotional: "Not all times are equal.  Sometimes God make it possible for an entire people to make a u-turn back toward him."

Thursday, March 9, 2017

As we do the seeking,
we will find God's way of serving.

As you envision God's best intentions for
particular people with your prayers, you will
be seeking them along with God.  They may
or may not know you are praying for them, but
as you pray, look for God to open practical ways
for you to serve the very people you have been
praying for with simple acts of kindness.

Kindness: God's love on display

Discover the joy of demonstrating God's love
in practical, tangible ways.  Don't be afraid to
show kindness to those you don't know.  Team
up with others to give back to those that you've
been lifting up in prayer.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Think of Peter—God built His church on Peter. But long before he was "Peter," he was "Simon."
In Matthew 16:18, Jesus said to Simon, And I tell you that you are Peter, which means rock, and upon this rock I will build my church." Christ gave Peter a new identity that pointed to his calling. Just like Peter, who you are in Christ must come first. God cares so much more about who you are than what you do. 
Before you walk into this busy Easter season, remind yourself who you are in Christ. From that stable foundation, you'll be able to do exactly what He has asked you to do to reach more people for Christ. 

Monday, March 6, 2017

For those far from God

Intentional prayer for neighbors, friends or co-workers
will set you to "seeking" or watching attentively, for
people who are distant or alienated from God.
In Jesus' words, they are "lost" to God.

Beyond known needs:
Pray your way into their story.

We are accustomed to forming our prayers
around needs or requests.  People don't always know
what they really need and therefore may not request prayer.
That's why we pray for our neighbors and neighborhoods
even before we have been asked to do so.

Pray with Scripture

As you learn to pray with Scripture, you will be
praying your way into the great story that God is
unfolding in families, businesses, neighborhoods,
peoples and cities.  God will fulfill all that He has
promised.  That's why we can pray in hope for others.
The daily topics in "Seek God for the City 2017"
will give you ways to envision what great things
God desires to do in our city.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

As we do the seeking,
Christ will do the saving.

Jesus said that His mission was "to seek and to save"
people who were lost to God (Luke 19:10).  The risen Christ
is pursuing the same mission today.  He is calling you
to collaborate with Him in that mission right where you live.
Simply put: As we do the seeking by prayer and service,
Christ will do the saving by the power of the Gospel.
Jesus calls His followers to become His co-workers
in His mission.  He gives every believer a way to join
with Him in seeking people by prayer, serving them
by demonstrating His kindness, and introducing them
to Himself so that they too, will experience His saving love.