Believe

Believe

Believe

Mark 9:24 “I believe; help my unbelief!”
By: Bruce Wesley, Senior Pastor, Clear Creek Community Church, HCPN Board Member

May 20, 2018

We quote the father of this tormented child often. We quote him, not because we are keenly aware of the plight with his son, but because we know what it means to believe and struggle with unbelief at the same time.

Maybe I believe Jesus saves hardened sinners, and I still struggle to believe deeply that he will turn the flint-like heart of my friend. Maybe I believe God heals relationships and reconciles the estranged. And, at the same time, I might struggle with fear that the conflict in my church will outlast the Hatfields and McCoys.

In this passage, the father loved his son and he wanted him to be healed. The text says that a spirit made him mute and caused seizures. The boy had suffered most of his life. In response, the father’s love held on to hope that his son could be well again. And, at the same time, he struggled to believe deeply in the face of years of suffering and failed attempts at recovery.

Jesus hears the doubts amidst his faith, and Jesus said, “All things are possible for one who believes.” The father’s response is where we connect with him. Like him, we believe and we need help with our unbelief. The good news is that Jesus honors those who believe in him in the face of reasons for unbelief.

When it comes to revival and renewal, I sound like this father, “I believe, help my unbelief!” I really do believe that God moves to renew and restore his church. I believe that the Spirit “falls upon” people in inexplicable ways for fruitful evangelism and to bring the kingdom of God in the “already” that many will only see in the “not yet.” I believe that a genuine movement of multiplying disciples and churches can happen in our lifetime. I believe God might work in a city in our day like he did in Nineveh when it was so close to destruction, and God saved the city (and cattle, which seems an odd addition) faster than Jonah thought possible.

And, at the same time, I need God’s help with my unbelief. It’s taken so long. We’ve seen so much “unvival” instead of revival. We’ve seen so much competition in churches, lethargy in followers, prejudice and division. It’s hard to believe in the face of reasons for unbelief. So, join me in praying, “Lord, help our unbelief!”

Maybe God is looking for a community who will believe what Jesus said, “All things are possible with God.” Maybe we have to believe that revival and renewal is possible before he brings it. Don’t misunderstand me. He’s sovereign in revival, and we can’t will it done. But, no doubt, he calls us to believe.

So, as we conclude 50 days of prayer together, let’s ask God to help us believe that he will actually do what we’ve been asking him to do. Take a moment and imagine with me what our city will look like when revival comes. Today, let’s believe.

Prayer

Father in Heaven, you raised Jesus from the dead. And while we were dead in our trespasses and sins, you saved us by making us alive in him. We ask that you grant a spiritual revival for our city that will resurrect those who are dead without you and revive your churches to bear fruit. Renew us so that we bring you glory in the beauty of holiness. Please raise up godly men and women to see churches multiplied to the ends of the earth. As we ask these things, we declare to you that we believe, and we struggle to believe deeply. Would you, now, help our unbelief? Please turn our unbelief into anticipation.

Amen.

Sacrifice for Revival

Sacrifice for Revival

Sacrifice for Revival

Romans 6:13

By: Reid Squires, Pastor of Operations and Mobilization, Sojourn Montrose

May 19, 2018

Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Romans 6:13)

The story of the Gospel is the story of a suffering God. Jesus came as a sacrifice, fulfilling the law, manifesting in righteousness, and dying in our place. This is good news on its own, but it’s incomplete without the resurrection, where Jesus’ real body revived in a real way - this changed everything.

As we think about our city and dream about revival, something crystallizes. As we grow in maturity and desire for our city to be revived, we will see ourselves change. The Holy Spirit will do what He has promised, we will begin to transform into the image of Christ. As Romans 6 reminds us, our hands and feet were once instruments of unrighteousness. The Resurrection of Jesus changed us. We who believe, in turn, are raised also from death to life. And Paul, inspired by the same Spirit we have (!) argues that a result of this personal revival is the presentation of ourselves to God as instruments for righteousness. What does this mean?

I think it means we will change. We will see our desires change. We will see our people change. And, we will see our churches change. To see revival happen, regular sacrifice will be a change that roots in us. We will ask our people and ourselves to sacrifice where we live, the cars we drive, the schools our kids go to, the salary we desire - all for the sake of revival. Our churches, likewise, will sacrifice our desired brand, the buildings we might want, the staff positions we have - all for the sake of revival. What are we gripping so tightly that we are failing to see a barrier to revival?

It’s time to present ourselves, brothers and sisters, as instruments for righteousness. Far be it from us to forget we were dead, and we are now revived. When I am farthest from that truth, historically I am also farthest from presenting myself to God as an instrument for righteousness and revival. God calls us to present ourselves as a sacrifice for His mission, but not before sacrificing Himself on the Cross. This is the call. Are we willing to answer it?

Prayer

Lord, you have done the unbelievable in bringing me from death to life. Let me remember and dwell upon this act. Remind me of the revival that has happened in my heart. Let me remember and dwell upon your death and resurrection. Let me remember and dwell on my call - to present myself as an instrument for your righteousness.

Jesus would you expose where we are gripping idols that are barriers to revival. Shine light into those areas, and flood our streets with the revival only you can bring. We invite it, God. We welcome it. Would you do it for Your name and Your fame? We pray all of this in the mighty name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

 

A Revival of Multiplication

A Revival of Multiplication

A Revival of Multiplication

Acts 1:8 – “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”


By: Byron Vaughn, Planting Pastor, VIDA Church

May 18, 2018

I recently was at a table with others who were planting and pastoring churches among minority and immigrant groups at an HCPN Gathering. The day focused on developing a culture of multiplication in our churches, of releasing and sending people out into God’s mission. I remember the response of those at the table to the speaker: “Well sure, that’s easy to talk about when you’re working in an affluent majority group context!”  

The cards are stacked against multiplication behaviors in some pastors serving minority and immigrant group congregations. Why? Because a scarcity of resources can seem to threaten a leader and his church. The few stable, resourced families he has often seem to be the only reason the electricity has not been cut off and the doors haven’t been shut. Fellow churches can easily feel like competition in this context. Pastors often do not develop and empower other leaders because of the real possibility they will tear people away from the church.  

But truth be told, we all have our issues. Where resources abound, success can be just as big of an obstacle. Whether our church is prospering or we just want it to, growing our church can work against multiplication. Are we really going to gut our churches of our most faithful givers and most gifted leaders to see God’s mission advance? The pull is strong to focus on our church’s growth rather than the expansion of God’s Kingdom.

Regardless of whether the enemy tries to use scarcity or success to hamstring our particular church, to see a revival of multiplication we are going to have to press hard into what the Lord has actually commissioned us to do: To multiplydisciples and churches to the ends of the earth. This requires empowering others, releasing them and sending them. We’ll never do this until we value God’s Kingdom over our own. As Bruce Wesley expresses it, “You must die to multiply.”

Prayer

Lord Jesus, help us die. You have taught us that “...unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” Help us die to multiply. And in the process, let our people become enflamed with the passion of participating in your mission, regardless of what that will mean for us. For your Kingdom’s sake, Amen.

Revival Begins with Paying Attention

Revival Begins with Paying Attention

Revival Begins with Paying Attention

Mark 8: 11-21
By: Jason Phelps, Director of Worship & the Arts, Oikos Church

May 17, 2018

Paying attention is something that I’m not naturally good at, skillful at, or even desire to do all the time. It’s easy for me to check out, to become lost in my thoughts, to disconnect. To disconnect from the present, to disconnect from my wife and children, to disconnect from a meeting, and disconnect from the Lord. What I have found in my own life is that when I am not paying attention, I miss out. So my word for 2018 has been: Be present and pay attention. I believe that if we want to experience revival in our lives, churches, and our city, we must be present, we must pay attention.

The disciples in this story have already been a part of the feeding of the 5,000 and the 4,000 and have found themselves bickering over not having enough bread for each other in the boat with Jesus. Oh, how I relate to these disciples. How easily I forget what Jesus has done in me and through me. Over hearing their argument, Jesus tells them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees who continuously demand miracle after miracle and choosing not to believe. Jesus rebukes his disciples and sternly asks them, “Don’t you understand? Are your hearts hard? Do your eyes work? How about your ears? Do you not remember? Are you paying attention?” He then reminds them of the miraculous and wonderful provision He provided the crowds and how they had plenty left over.

My invitation for you is to join me in paying attention. Paying attention to the Lord and being present with others. Loving the Lord and others enough to listen to their words, to watch what they are doing, to experience life with them. Revival will happen when we are present because we get to see what is happening, to share common experiences, and when we pay attention it is possible for us to remember the great things the Lord has done which we can cling on to by faith.

Prayer

Lord, we confess to you that we have not been as present as we could have been with you and with others. Assure us that when we are tempted to check out that we remember that it is worth it to keep our eyes and ears open. Help us to love others enough to be present in conversations and experiences. For when we are present our emotions are in line with our experiences. Help us not to miss out on what you are doing so that we may join you in this exciting mission you have for us. Thank you for paying attention to us even when we are disconnected from you.

Look Like Heaven!

Look Like Heaven!

Look Like Heaven!

Rev. 5:9- And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals;
For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood, Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation.”

By: Ben Hays, Reach Houston Strategist, SBTC

May 16, 2018

One of the ways that we will know revival has come is when our lives, our churches, and our communities begin to look like Heaven. Remember that Jesus taught us to pray- “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” When we begin to see what God will do fully and finally in Heaven begin to happen here and now on earth, in some measure, we can start to feel the revival winds blowing. One of the ways that we can “look like heaven” is to pursue a multi-ethnic vision of the family of God. John reminds us in Revelation that heaven will be a city populated by worshippers of every tribe and every nation. If Heaven will be multi- ethnic, why are the churches here on earth so mono-ethnic? Perhaps it’s an indicator that we still need revival?! Martin Luther King Jr. once said “the 11 o’clock hour on Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America.” Those words were very true in the 1960s, and sadly, they are still true today. Today, because we live in Houston, there is an even greater calling to pursue a multi-ethnic expression of the Church. Houston, the most ethnically diverse city in America, ought to naturally be filled with multi-ethnic churches; if not, something is wrong. If Jesus said love your neighbor, and you live anywhere in the greater Houston metro area, chances are, some of your neighbors look different than you! As we reach our neighbors with the Gospel and invite them into Christian community, our churches should begin to look a lot more like Heaven.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we praise you that you have redeemed us out of every kindred, tribe, and tongue. May you send us out into our city with the power of the Holy Spirit to see your family grow to include all nations who have made their dwelling in Houston. Please reveal to us, and forgive us of any prejudice, injustice, or discrimination that our hearts may harbor. Send revival to our churches in such a way that they begin to look like Heaven.

The Plowing Starts with You

The Plowing Starts with You

The Plowing Starts with You

Micah 6:8 – “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

By: Kevin Henson, Church Relations Manager, Compassion International

May 17, 2018

Throughout the ages, earnest Christ followers have longed for a deeper sense that God is moving within their church, community, city and the world. Terms like revival, fresh expression, and awakening have been used to express this deep desire Christians have. But this isn’t isolated to the New Testament church. Laced throughout the Old Testament, and the prophetical books in specific, we see this yearning. “God, please come and save us,” the Hebrews cried from the oppressors in Egypt. “Rescue us from our leaders,” the Israelites begged under the godless reign of many of their kings.

In the OT book of Micah, the prophet is speaking on behalf of the people, on behalf of God, and as accuser of the leaders of the times. In response to the people’s cry for God to act, and their asking God what He wants in return (they offer burnt offerings, calves, LOTS of rams, and even their firstborn!), the Lord simply states three requirements: 1) To act justly, 2) To love mercy, and 3) to walk humbly with their God.

As followers of Christ seeking for God to bring revival to our churches, communities, and city, I sense that the Lord is asking these same three things of us. And it starts with us as pastors and leaders – at the very personal level. Are WE acting justly to those who need justice? Do WE love mercy more than vengeance or what is “right”? Are WE walking humbly with our God each and every day? I’d like to think that I am. I mean, I work for an organization that is laser focused on helping children in difficult circumstance and in hard countries in the name of Jesus. If that isn’t “acting justly, loving mercy, and walking humbly with God” I don’t know what is! BUT, am I doing those things personally...all the time...or at least very regularly? Often times as leaders of non-profits or churches, we celebrate that the organization we work for is doing great things around our city and around the world, all the while not really acting on them personally. If we want true revival in our churches, communities, and city (and around the world!), it starts with a look in the proverbial mirror.

Prayer

Lord, I want more of You, I want all of You. I want to be rescued from the impossible situations I often find myself in. I want to see You break through this difficult world – a world filled with hate, sorrow, and despair. In all my asking, I know You want me to humble myself and follow You. To live out the teachings found only in Your Holy Word. Show me how to love those that are difficult to love. Teach me how to act justly to those who have been stepped over or stepped on. I confess I often rely on my church, Your church, to do that work while You are calling me personally to the plow. May I be the pastor and leader You need to change my community, this great city of Houston, and the world.

Revival from Discouragement

Revival from Discouragement

Revival from Discouragement

Ezra 3:12

By: George Ford, Senior Pastor, Baytown Gathering

May 14, 2018

Zerubbabel had one of the most profound and clear callings in the Bible. King Cyrus, about whom it was prophesied by name over 200 years beforehand by the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 44:28), was now sending Zerubbabel to rebuild the temple that then lied in ruins. And along with him went those who were risk takers. Those whose roots were anchored in the commerce and everyday life of Babylon would stay behind, but the adventurers desiring to see the glory of the LORD restored to Jerusalem would forsake all and follow him. However, all of that excitement would come to an end as the underwhelming realization of their work would be manifested. Upon the laying of the foundation of the Second Temple, we read, “But many of the priests and Levites and heads of the fathers’ houses, old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this temple was laid before their eyes. Yet many shouted aloud for joy” - Era 3:12

How many young and ambitious pastors have been sent forth with great zeal, desiring to see nothing else (or at least so they are convinced) than to see the glory of the gospel spread through them? Perhaps, they have attended a prestigious seminary with more than adequate training or even were sent out from a successful church that had poured time, money and people into supporting the young pastor’s work. However, as time unfolds, after steps of faith that appear unmet with spiritual power, outreaches that do not produce the intended results, and worship services which at times feel mediocre at best, the zeal to see the power of the gospel made manifest through his life has nearly all but vanished. How can the enthusiasm that once drove this pastor be restored?

Discouragement and opposition would sideline Zerubbabel and his followers from completing the work that God had so obviously called them to fulfill for 15 years! What was it that breathed life into this despondent group of men to build the temple that our very Lord Jesus Christ would teach in?

  1. 1  Correction. God sent the prophet Haggai to correct their apathy, as they were focussing on themselves and their own homes rather than on the LORD and His house (Haggai 1:1-11). Does our despondency in ministry truly come from a lack of gospel impact in the community in which we serve, or does it stem from lack of personal success and injured ambition? Oftentimes, the first step in Revival from Discouragement is inn receiving and making the appropriate corrections.

  2. 2  Confirmation. Zerubbabel needed a confirmation that God truly did call him to fulfill this task (Haggai 2:4). When lack of apparent success occurs, we can begin to say, “Maybe I’m not called to
    this”, because, “If God was behind me, surely things would look differently.” Just as Paul encouraged Timothy (1 Timothy 4:14-5; 2 Timothy 1:6-7), we need to be encouraged by remembering our calling. Zerubbabel may not have been called to the external level of glory as was Solomon, yet he was equally called to build the LORD a temple. Your ministry may not have the external glory as someone else’s, but you are equally called nonetheless.

  3. 3  Continuation. Haggai prophesied that, though the glory of Zerubbabel’s temple was ‘as nothing’ (Haggai 2:3), yet in many years to come, it’s glory would exceed that of Solomon’s (Haggai 2:9). As insignificant at times as our work may feel, remember that Jesus ‘appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain’ (John 15:16). We will never see the full breadth of our impact here on earth, for it will continue to bear fruit even beyond our departure from it.

Ears to Hear

Ears to Hear

Ears to Hear

”He who has ears to hear....”
By: Susan Wesley, Clear Creek Community Church

May 13, 2018

Jesus often repeated a phrase...”He who has ears to hear....”

Jesus isn’t saying how’s your hearing? He is making a statement that there is a difference in having ears and having ears to hear....

It seems that Jesus is saying “pay attention, listen to what I am saying, tune in......” Stop. Listen. Christ is speaking.
What is He saying?

Three times in a matter of 26 verses, the writer of Hebrews exhorts us with “Today if you hear his voice, do not harden your heart, (as in the rebellion....) ” As in the children of Israel, who witnessed His deliverance, His provision and His plan to them....and they rebelled—went their own way, refused to believe and obey. Their hearts were hardened.

There’s a clear connection between my ears and my heart.

Our fridge makes weird noises. When we first got it, I heard every time it made a clamor and my attention was drawn there. However, I never hear it anymore. Oh, it still makes the noise. I know this because whenever we have guests, their head spins around wondering “What is that racket?” each time the fridge does its thing.

My ears are no longer attuned to the fridge.
I fear that I am like that with God. The tuning of my ears is directly related to the condition of my heart.

The familiarity of His name, the regularity of hearing, even the commonality of fellowship with His children can serve to lull me into dullness, drunk with an abundance of opportunity. So many books, podcasts, blogs, so many conferences and trainings all beckon me to listen. But when I fill my ears with so many other voices, I can often miss His voice.

Do I have ears to hear what He is saying? It’s possible that revival could start with my own heart, when TODAY, I listen with ears to hear and my heart is soft to His promptings?

I am reminded of the times that I have sensed God’s Spirit prompting me to call someone or serve someone. In those times, when I listened and obeyed, it became clear to me that God was including me in something meaningful for his kingdom that was bigger than me. Few joys in life compare to being used by God like that. If God brings revival, will it mean that we have these experiences DAILY?

Surely, “ears to hear” at least includes responding to the promptings of the Spirit, to courageously acting in obedience so that we’re included in what he’s doing all around us. This is the kingdom of God in our midst.

Today, is my heart ready to respond with obedience? A simple place to start with what I know He continues to say: Forgive as you have been forgiven.
Serve as you have been served
Love as you have been loved.

Prayer

Our Father in Heaven, Thank you for making us your children. Give us ears to hear your voice amidst all the clamor of this world. Give us wisdom to filter out the drivel. Awaken us to Your voice. Tune our ears to hear your voice. Protect us from the deceitfulness of sin and anything that would harden our hearts. Make our hearts soft to receive your Word and to respond with ready obedience and joy.

The Transforming Power of Trust

The Transforming Power of Trust

The Transforming Power of Trust

John 14:4-5, Acts 1:8, 1 Corinthians 3:6, Romans 15:13

By: Ryan Lokkesmoe, Lead Pastor of Real Hope Community Church

At many times and in various ways, Scripture teaches us that

  • God loves us.

  • God is present with us.

  • God is the one who transforms lives.

    Although many of us would affirm these truths, we often find ourselves thinking and behaving as if the opposite were true. Our thoughts and actions demonstrate that to some degree we actually believe

    • God’s love for us is not guaranteed.

    • God’s presence with us is not certain.

    • God will transform lives if we work hard enough for him.

      This sad disconnect appears in our personal lives and in the organizations we help to lead. We wonder if God is happy with us or disappointed (even though God loved us before we loved him and that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus). We ask God for more of his presence (even though his Spirit dwells within us). We try to be the best we can be – omnicompetent and original – so that people will be impressed and their lives will change (even though transformation is God’s business).

      This isolating outlook leads us to go it alone: relying on our own strength instead of trusting God, and failing to join hands with our brothers and sisters in Christ who labor alongside of us.

      We must remember what Jesus said in John 14:4-5:

      Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.

      How much can we do without Jesus? The risen Christ added in Acts 1:8:
      You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.

      Sometimes we read verses like this and think that the Holy Spirit will make us powerful – like he’s an extra gust of wind in our sails when we need it. But that’s not exactly right. The Greek word for power in this verse (dynamis) is a part of a family of ancient words that meant something closer to ability or capability. Jesus was saying that the Holy Spirit will give you thecapability of fulfilling his mission. In other words, without the Holy Spirit working in and through us, we are unable to be his witnesses in the world. The Holy Spirit is not a turbo charge for our hard work; apart from him, we can do nothing.

      The Apostle Paul picked up on this idea when disunity reared its head in first-century Corinth and factions of people were pledging allegiance to different leaders. In 1 Corinthians 3:6 he said,

      I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow.

      Paul worked really hard and he was really smart. But he never got confused about who got the credit for spiritual transformation: God did.

We must embrace Paul’s outlook. We cannot transform lives in our own strength. We cannot work hard for revival and ask God to boost our efforts. Instead, we have to

  • Trust that he loves us beyond description.

  • Trust that he is perfectly present with us.

  • Trust that he will do his transformative work in and through us.

    But, as with all aspects of our spiritual lives, we must rely on God for this. We have to ask God to cultivate a durable trust in our hearts – the sort of trust we see displayed so often in the Psalms, one that can weather the storms of life and the ups and downs of our emotions.

    God gets all the credit for any interior revival we personally experience and any exterior revival we see blossoming in our city. We must trust each other, and trust God to do the work that only he can do. As Paul prayed in Romans 15:13:

    May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power

    of the Holy Spirit..

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we confess that sometimes we do not trust that you love us. We do not believe deep down that you are with us. We place our focus on working hard for you instead of relying on you. Holy Spirit, please renew our minds in these areas. Transform our hearts. Help us to have a deep, abiding sense of your love for us and presence with us. We ask that this would be true of us as individuals, and that it would be true of the congregations we serve. We pray that it would be true of our city, Lord. Help revive our relationship with you so that we can be the loving ambassadors of your Kingdom that we are called to be. Help us to trust you, and show us how to seek unity and trust each other. We make ourselves available to you, Holy Spirit, for your transforming work in our hearts and in this city. Amen.

 

For Such a Time as This?

For Such a Time as This?

For Such a Time as This?

Esther 4:13-14, Matthew 5:16

By: Marilyn Lee, Executive Director, Loving Houston

May 11, 2018

I have always loved the book of Esther. I mean, look at her: she received a year of free beauty treatments, won a national contest to become queen, and then risked her life to save her people who were on the brink of destruction! Wow! A real-life beauty queen turned superhero!

Until just recently, the part that stood out most to me was when Mordecai said to Esther:

“And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”

I would read that and think, “Wow, what has God called me to? Maybe He’s put me in this role for such a time as this!” 

More recently, though, the part just before that line has been weighing on my mind:

“Do not think to yourself that in the king's palace you will escape any more than all the other Jews. For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father's house will perish...”

Just as in Esther’s time, there are people here in the Houston area who are facing extreme challenges. There is violence, hunger, and trafficking here. People are still struggling to recover after Hurricane Harvey, schools are on the verge of being shut down, and too many families and communities don’t have access to basic necessities.

Also as in Esther’s time, if the Church doesn’t step up, I now realize that our God truly is sovereign and that relief will come from another place if we keep silent. In fact, amazing collaboratives of government, community, and business leaders have popped up across Houston to address every one of these challenges. But praise God that the faith community has stepped up as well! The challenges within our communities have caused previously closed domains to swing open their doors to welcome faith-based partners in an unprecedented way. And it has been so beautiful to see His children answering the call and representing Him and all of His goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and love in a way that is allowing thousands of people across Greater Houston to experience relief and deliverancein the name of Jesus.

Maybe we are indeed in Houston right now for such a time as this!
Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Prayer

Dear Father, Thank You for the thousands of Christ-followers across Greater Houston. Thank You for the work churches and believers are already doing to demonstrate Your goodness, faithfulness, mercy, and love to our neighbors. We pray that each one of us would continue to be faithful in looking for opportunities to be Your ambassadors and ministers of reconciliation. And we pray that You would help us to be faithful in using the platforms You’ve given each of us in a way that leads those around us to a deeper understanding of who You are. In the powerful name of Jesus we pray, Amen.

Revival in the Desert

Revival in the Desert

Revival in the Desert

Acts 8:26 - Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, “Rise and go toward the south to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.” This is a desert place.

By: Matt Prine, Texas Mobilization Coordinator, WorldVenture

May 10, 2018

Sometimes it is so difficult to think beyond the here and now in church ministry. Especially when we have spent sleepless nights praying for the Spirit to move—and He does! It can become an all-consuming task to keep the momentum going, because we all know that vision is like water in a leaky bucket and that momentum dies faster than off-brand batteries. So we work tirelessly because we do not want to break John Maxwell’s 16th Irrefutable Law of Leadership—the “Big Mo.”

I imagine Philip was feeling some of that leadership pressure in Acts 8. He was seeing incredible ministry success as he shared the gospel with people throughout Samaria. Large crowds of people were dialed in to the sermons he was preaching (imagine that —your whole congregation awake and engaged!). Demons were being cast out of masses of people. Those with physical infirmities were being healed. New believers were being baptized. It was a church planter’s dream come true! God was moving, and the result was that “there was much joy in that

city” (Acts 8:8). Revival was sweeping through town, and everyone was better for it.

Isn’t that our dream for our city? We dream of much joy—joy that comes from our church carrying Christ into the community. We dream that revival would break out and people would find freedom in the Lord. Philip was experiencing exactly that, which makes what happened next hard to comprehend. In the middle of an incredible time of revival, the Lord sends an angel of the Lord to Philip and says: “Rise and go toward the south, to the road that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza” (Acts 8:26). Now, I would have a laundry list of reasons why now isn’t a great time. “But Lord, we have a bunch of new people from the neighborhood who just joined the church. There are unbelievers who are being transformed by the gospel. We have the D-Now weekend coming up, and we haven’t even booked our speaker yet!”

The list of excuses only grows when the place to which we are called is not some beautiful oasis. Luke makes sure to let us know at the end of v. 26, “this is a desert place.” Let’s be honest, who would have a hard time accepting a commission to Hawaii or the French Riviera? But a desert? It’s easy to say “no thanks” to that one. Sending Philip to the desert when ministry was at its best seems crazy! But the Lord had plans in mind that went way beyond what was happening in the region where Philip had been serving—and he obeyed.

While on the road, the Spirit directs Philip to speak to a ranking official of the queen of Ethiopia, who “happens” to be reading from the book of Isaiah and needs a little bit of help understanding who the passage is talking about. Talk about a divine appointment! Philip is given the opportunity to share the gospel with this foreign dignitary and ends up baptizing him on the spot. I don’t think that the effects of this moment in history can be quantified, but what I do know is that there is a thriving church in Ethiopia today. Nearly 60% of the Ethiopian population claims Christianity and their evangelical growth rate is nearly twice that of the global growth rate. Perhaps this revival is due to one man’s obedience in setting aside the busyness of his thriving ministry and answering the call of the Lord to go into the desert.

So the questions must be asked. While I am praying for and pursuing revival here in my own context, am I missing the Lord’s calling to pray for revival in a spiritual desert somewhere far from home? Am I missing a clear call of the Lord to GO and make disciples who are not in my Jerusalem but dwell in the “ends of the earth?” Am I praying for revival to break out among the unreached and unengaged peoples of the world?

May we become more powerful prayer warriors, fiercely devoted to seeing revival, both in our city and around the world. May we be like Philip—obedient to the Lord, following Him wherever He leads!

Prayer

Lord, thank You for being a God who delights in bringing revival. Thank You for allowing me to work toward and pray for revival in my city and for allowing me to be a co-laborer with Christ as You save the lost. As I devote myself to Your calling to seek revival, let me not miss the bigger picture—that revival is needed among the spiritual desert places of the world. Burden my heart for a region of the world where I can begin to pray for revival. Help me to feel the compassion that Jesus felt when He saw those who were harassed and helpless. Help me to walk in obedience like Philip did and use me as a catalyst of God-honoring change globally in the lives of others. Amen.

True Greatness

True Greatness

True Greatness

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.” Matthew 20:26

By: Suzanne Werlein, Member of Faithbridge Church

May 9, 2018

My boys have big dreams. Right now, those dreams consist of having tremendous strength and bulging muscles. It’s not a rare occasion for me to find one or the other flexing and admiring his physique, or attempting to display great feats of strength to his friends. The other day, after one of these displays of greatness, one of my boys turned to me and said, “Mom, do you think JJ Watt looked like me when he was my age?” In his mind, it’s a forgone conclusion that someday soon he will be a legendary NFL superstar.

Greatness. We all want it in some form. God created us with a very real longing to have lives that count for something. We all want lives full of meaning and purpose, and there is nothing wrong with that. The abundant life is a God given desire. However... God’s picture of what is truly great might be a bit different than ours. Look at what Jesus says in Matthew 20:26,

“Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.”

I can hear my boys right now saying, “Wait a minute! You mean to tell me that the greatest player on God’s team is the water-boy? The equipment manager? The dude who isn’t even on the field?” Yep. That’s what He’s saying. And that is entirely different from what our culture tells us. All around us we see people clamoring to get to the top of their game, desperately seeking their moments of fame and glory. Sadly, we even see this in the church. But Jesus says, if you want to be great, you must choose to be a servant. If you want to go high, you must choose to go low. If you want to be upfront, you must choose to go behind the scenes and serve.

God’s greatest leaders in history have all had their seasons behind the scenes, off the field, with no one watching them or caring about what they were doing. But there was One who saw them. One who, in fact, was watching them very closely and using their time behind the scenes very intentionally, developing them for His glory and purposes. Think of Joseph in the prison cell, Moses in the desert, David alone with his flocks of sheep. Even Jesus “learned obedience through the things that he suffered” (Hebrews 5:8).

So friend, does your life feel like it’s going nowhere? Do you sense deep down you were made for more? Learn to serve God faithfully today, right where you are. On or off the field, upfront or behind the scenes, learn to serve those God has placed in your life. God is using this season of your life to grow and develop you for His good purposes and glory. Let Him use this time to revive your heart for the truest form of greatness- humble submission to Him in everything.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, you are the ultimate example of greatness. You are fully God, but you chose to put on flesh and become fully man. You served without reserve. You gave of yourself even unto death. For us. Please Lord, revive our hearts. Give us the strength to live in humility, and to serve those you have placed in our lives wholeheartedly. We leave the greatness part up to you. Amen.

Uncrushed Time- Preparation for Revival

Uncrushed Time- Preparation for Revival

Unrushed Time- Preparation for Revival

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – His good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2
By: Sandy Schultz, Executive Director, The WorkFaith Connection

May 8, 2018

In his book, The Divine Mentor, Wayne Cordiero writes:
“Spending unrushed time alone with God in His Word, releases a fountain of refreshment from the very core of your being.”

A key word here is unrushed time. When we’re not rushed we can listen. When we’re not rushed we can be still before the Lord. In the stillness, His words speak life to us. We see Jesus and we know we are loved ... deeply, richly, unconditionally. That love births a deep and abiding love for our Father and a yearning to love others with the same richness that Jesus lavished upon us. Oh, I cherish these moments of unrushed time.

It is also in this unrushed time with God in His Word that the Holy Spirit gives us the bold courage to look at our self-protecting, prideful ways ... the parts of ourselves that are not yet conformed to the image of Christ ... the places where we are not trusting in God’s good, pleasing and perfect will. Although our hearts are grieved over our revealed sinfulness, and we are thrust into a longing to repent and seek forgiveness, God also gently reminds us to rest in the righteousness of Jesus. Stillness before the Lord protects us from the lies of Satan.

It is also in this place of brokenness over our own sin that the Holy Spirit equips us to love others exactly where they are in their journey, and to gently and lovingly speak truth as He leads. As God gives us the courage to look at our own idolatry, He births in us a compassionate love for others that cannot be quenched.

In this unrushed time with God, we find a freedom from striving, freedom from proving, freedom from desire for the things of this world. We find Truth. We are reminded that it is the Holy Spirit that brings revival, and God delights in allowing us to be an instrument in His hand to participate in His work.

In this unrushed time with God, we see evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work transforming us. The fruit ... love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control ... draws people to Jesus.

May God provide us this unrushed time at His feet. We long to see a miraculous movement of revival; a revival of surrender to our Father’s good, pleasing and perfect will; a revival of truth; a revival of loving and serving our neighbor. Might the world see Jesus in us and may revival spread like wildfire to those who don’t yet know the good news of Christ!

Prayer

Oh Lord Jesus, we come before you confessing we need You. We live in a hurried world that desires to keep us distracted; but you, O Lord, walked this earth at a pace of grace. You always had unrushed time for the Father and for the people He placed in your path. Lord, make us more like You every day. We cry out to you, Lord, for revival in the hearts of believers and those who don’t yet know You. We pray for a conviction of the Holy Spirit that brings repentance and rest to our weary souls. May Your love radiate through us to the corners of the earth, and may our nation return to You. Father, it is in the mighty name of our risen Savior, Jesus, we pray. Amen.

AT THE FEET OF JESUS

AT THE FEET OF JESUS

At The Feet of Jesus

Luke 10:38-42
By: Deon Archer, Finishing Resident, Houston Church Planting Network

May 7, 2018

CJ Mahaney in his book entitled living the cross centered life tells of a time when he was a kid how he would watch a variety of shows that sometimes included a popular act known as the plate spinner. A guy who balanced several plates atop long flexible rods and kept them all spinning. Moreover, he says that one by one he would carefully position each plate on a rod and give a furious spin, until the stage was transformed into a small forest of plates wiggling and swaying on their sticks. In addition, by the time eight or ten plates were in motion, the first plate was slowing down and wobbling dangerously. The spinner would rush over and with remarkably skilled hands, instantly return the plate to top speed rotation. Then on to rescue another wobbling plate, then another and another. Running back and forth in a lot of activity, he would somehow get there in time.

In Luke 10:38-42 we meet Martha, like the plate spinner she is more concerned about running back and forth in a lot of activity and complaining about Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning from him rather than helping her. In addition, the Jewish culture placed more value on hospitality, and a women’s ability to manage a household well. Martha’s complaint against Mary would be seen as legitimate because of their culture. But Mary ignores culture for the sake of sitting at Jesus feet and learning from him like a disciple. All of Martha’s hard work is a distraction compared to Mary’s desire to sit at Jesus feet as a disciple. Jesus crushes the cultural norm by affirming the status of a woman as a disciple.

Like Martha it is very easy for us to have a bunch of things going at one time running back and forth in a lot of activity trying to keep everything going and neglect the care of our soul by trying to keep up. Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with being busy, but the question becomes what has more priority in your life. Furthermore, do you wake up in the morning thinking about all the things you have to get done? Or do you wake up and say I need to meet with God before I do anything. If we are going to be a church that God uses to usher in a revival we need to be a church that sits at the feet of Jesus and learn from him.

You might be asking the question how can I sit at the Lords feet when he is physically no longer with us? As Jesus prepares his disciples for his departure in his upper room discourse, he promises in John 14:16-17 that the spirit would indwell believers and that indwelling would be permanent. Moreover, God the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer for the purpose of teaching, testifying, guiding, convicting, interceding and comforting.

In our current context there several ways we can sit at the Lord Jesus feet and learn from him. First of all, we must by God’s grace pray, prayer expresses our desperate dependency on God the father through our Lord Jesus Christ by means of the Spirit.

Secondly, allow the Word of God to read you. Moreover, Dr. Warren Weirsbe says that every time the Word of God is open God is speaking, every time it is closed God is not speaking. We need to hear the Word of God address some aspects of our brokenness and then hear the sweet balm of the Gospel address that aspect of our brokenness.

Thirdly, read and listen to Gospel saturated music, preaching and books. We have this natural tendency to become busy with the wrong motive and we need to be reminded of the Gospel, that regardless of what we say or do God still approves of us who are in Christ. Although we are deeply broken people we still are deeply loved by God because of the sufficiency of the Cross and resurrection of Christ.

Prayer

Father we desperately need you, please forgive us for at times being busy without consulting you first. Thank you for sovereignly allowing your hand of correction in our life to remind us of our desperate need for you. Help us to humble ourselves by giving us the grace to see the uselessness of man’s approval and help us treasure our father in heavens approval because of the Cross of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Lord, we desperately want to see a revival in our city, but we know for that to happen we first must have a deep and intimate relationship with you. So, we thank you for the frustrations, pains, closed doors, sicknesses, and mistreatments because we know that behind all that, you are causing all things to work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Thank you for the sufficiency of the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. Help us to be people that sit at your feet and listen to your words, not only listen to your words but also be obedient to your word.

It Is Not Far Off

It Is Not Far Off

It Is Not Far Off

Psalm 85:6- “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”

By: Heath Haynes, Lead Pastor/Elder, The Bridge Montrose

May 6, 2018

What is revival? What are we asking for when we pray for it? It seems we often feel like it is some distant possibility that we believe is real but not likely to ever truly experience. I imagine it is much like the people of Israel in the 400 years when the prophets were silent (which means God was silent) and Jesus, the Messiah had not yet come. They believed and taught the prophecies, but went about their everyday not really expecting the Messiah to show up. We mustn’t let our finite understanding of the way our supernatural, timeless, and eternal God works cause us to grow dull in our hope and faith. This is the exact reason we as temporal people call out for revival.

Here is the amazing Truth. Revival is not far off. We see verses like Psalm 85:6 all throughout scripture where they pray, “Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?”. Prayers of desperation and longing. Prayers of sensing there is something more. Prayers of sensing we have fallen asleep. How can we say revival is not far off? I heard a definition of revival that I have found helpful that tells us why revival is not far off. It states, “Revival is marked by the normal daily work of the Holy Spirit being experienced in an overwhelming and pervasive manner.”

Because the Holy Spirit has been given to us and is always present and working, the prayer for revival is for us to be stirred up and awakened to an overtaking experience of His work. So for today, take time to follow the prompts below to pray through the daily work of the Spirit that will lead to revival as we awaken to experiencing them in an overwhelming and pervasive manner.

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Prayer

Our Heavenly Father. Lord of heaven and earth. You are both far off and You are near. We need you to awaken us from our slumber. We need you to convict us of our sin and lack of belief. You have redeemed and restored through the work of Jesus and have given us the Holy Spirit. We can rejoice in being liberated from our sin... we can enjoy your love and presence without fear and we can abide in a deep shared life rooted in loving relationships as the Body of Christ. The same power that conquered sin and death in Christ is the same power you have given us in The Holy Spirit. Overwhelm and overtake us to this reality for Your Glory! In Jesus name, Amen.

Revival and Distress

Revival and Distress

Revival and Distress

“Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress.” -Ps. 107:19

By: Brian Haynes, Lead Pastor, Bay Area Church in League City

May 5, 2018

If repentance is a gateway for revival, then distress is a blessing. Naturally we are more apt to turn to God in repentance when we are experiencing the bone breaking pain or panic stricken fear of crisis. It is often in these moments that we cry out to God in repentance or for rescue. What we find is that we are met with the steadfast love of the Lord, redemption, and personal revival.

Psalm 107 (read all of it if you have time) describes four kinds of distress pressing people harshly as to leave them only to cry out to God.

Soul distress. This kind of distress is experienced by the lost soul, wandering in the wilderness of life with no way and no water. At the low point of soul distress, the soul gives way or “faints” and is left only to cry out to the Lord. Our Redeemer is quick to answer the call and deliver us from soul distress by giving us a path, a home, and satisfying our thirsty souls with living water.

Bondage. The distress of bondage is experienced by the one who rebels against the Word of God. Described as sitting in darkness as prisoners in iron, people experiencing this kind of distress feel captive and stuck. At the lowest point of bondage, we fall down with no one to help and cry out to the Lord. Our Savior answers quickly by bringing us from darkness to light and breaking our spiritual shackles. After all, the prophet Isaiah reminds us that he came to set the captives free.

Affliction. Some become fools as evidenced by repeated sinful ways. Such iniquities result in affliction. Things like disease, depression, and death are the afflictions that the writer of Psalms describes. In the depths of affliction, as we near death’s gate, we are left to cry out to God. Our Deliverer is quick to lavish us with steadfast love. In this case, He sends out the word of truth to combat the lies, delivering and healing us from affliction.

At wits end. This is the kind of distress that causes us to feel like we have no answer. It is as if we have applied all of our wisdom to the given situation and still we cannot overcome, fix, or remove the cause of distress. In this case, it’s all going bad, we are trying hard, and yet we end up reeling and staggering under the burden of distress. We are literally at our wits end. We are left, in our distress, only to cry out to God. Our Peace Giver quickly responds, causing the raging storm to still, bringing us to a safe haven when we thought we would surely drown.

We have all been in one of these categories of distress and I am guessing we might be again. Where are you today? Is your soul in distress? Are you at your wits end? Are you captive? Cry out to God who hears our cry and rescues us even when our distress is a result of our own sin.

The Psalmist says “Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good for his steadfast love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” (Psalm 107:1-2)

We serve an awesome God who uses our distress as a gateway for repentance and revival and a pathway for redemption. He loves us and always answers our cry to him.

Prayer

LORD, thank you for hearing our cry and saving us from our lostness, our bondage, our affliction, and our exasperation. Your steadfast love is astounding. Help us to receive your love and give us the faith, as the redeemed, to tell others of you Jesus, the only One who can deliver us from our distress. Give us revival Jesus. Revive our city, a people in spiritual distress.

Revival Through Our Acceptance of Weakness

Revival Through Our Acceptance of Weakness

Revival Through Our Acceptance of Weakness

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”
2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
By: Abi Morton, Executive Director, Clothed by Faith

May 4, 2018

When I came into a relationship with The Lord, it wasn't through any big event, one individual person, or a moving worship service. It was in isolation living in an apartment in Washington DC that the Lord and I entered into a deep relationship together. I believe it happened at that time because my heart was ready to receive the Lord. I wanted to be free of my "old" ways and enjoy God's love and grace. I accepted that I didn't deserve any of the good things that our precious Lord has done or prepared for me. I took hold of the relationship the Lord was offering me, because He has let me understand that through His precious son our Lord Jesus and His amazing Grace, I am free to be loved by the Lord and to Love Him. What was going on in that apartment in D.C. was a revival of my heart and in turn, every aspect of my life changed. This revival went on for a season of months. The Lord romanced me and drew me closer to him. Lovingly convicting me of my sin and bringing to the forefront of my mind what I need to change and let go.

This personal revival and my new-found relationship with the Lord made me feel empowered and strong – ready to tackle anything! What I did not realize at the time was that God was preparing me for ministry and I still had a very important lesson to learn. He gave me the verse “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

At first, I didn't ever really understand why He was giving that verse to me. As I was moving into ministry, I felt very "strong". I thought, maybe God is telling me that I am "perfect" for the job. How foolish was I. What I was failing to do was submit myself to The Lord and prayerfully understand that there would be more times than not that I would be too "weak" to complete the tasks given to me. Often, I rely on The Lord to do miracles in order for my relationship with Him and the function of the ministry to go well. I frequently would try and do things in my own strength and would end up wasting time and effort with no results. When I let go, The Lord steps in and completes the miracle so that "when I am weak... He is strong" and therefore glorified.

So often today, because of the increasingly narcissistic society and mind frame we live in, we try to do things in our own so that we can prove that we "did it.” God is clearly telling us not to do that. He wants us to do our part and work for Him, but we need to leave Him room to be glorified by allowing Him to release His power in our lives. It's not in our strength that revival will come it's through accepting that we are weak and need the power of Jesus at all times in every area of our lives.

Prayer

Dear Lord Our Father, Lord Jesus and Holy Spirit,
Thank you and praise you that your Grace is sufficient for us. Thank you that we have done nothing to deserve the love you give us which is greater than any earthly father. Praise you Lord that you use our weakness so that you can be our strength and be glorified. We need revival Lord because we are too weak to correct our ways in our own strength, bring revival! Lord let us be a city and a people renewed and refreshed by your almighty and blood cleansing power. Thank you Lord that there will be a day when every tongue and tribe will confess that YOU ARE LORD! Amen.

“Every great revival in history had the grace of God at its core. An awakening to the grace of God will release the power of the Gospel, and revival will be the result. Revival isn’t the result of holiness. Holiness is the result of revival.” Andrew Wommack. www.awmi.net/reading/teaching-articles/romans/

Revival and Productivity

Revival and Productivity

Revival and Productivity

5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:5, ESV)
By: John Wethington, Lead Pastor, White Oak Church

May 3, 2018

You’ve heard the statistics about how we are living in a great time of anxiety due to technology, smart phones and non-stop connectivity. It’s true, the Internet has changed the game and we are living in it’s wake.

It doesn’t take much assessment to realize this is why productivity is the gospel of our generation. We have so many options, so many opportunities, so many things going on that the only thing we believe will be able save us in this new busy world is productivity. We need to be able to do more in less time with less energy or we’ll never make it.

So we read the books, download the apps, buy our toothpaste off Amazon, reverse-engineer everything we can get our hands on all in an attempt to be more productive and get more done because we’ve been taught our success depends on our productivity. We hustle, we grind, we push through and before you know it we start hoping revival will come in our community because of our amazing work ethic.

But then we come to the famous “abide in me” call of Jesus in John 15:5. In this moment Jesus calls us to closeness with Him, to prayer, to remove our faith from the rat race and place it in the Lord.

Recently, God convicted me of something while spending time in John 15. For the longest time when I read that passage I thought what Jesus was calling me to do was spend time with Him and thus forsake productivity and doing great things because His presence is far more satisfying than accomplishment. I thought it was a call to be less impactful because a desire to have impact was a wordly thing. And while it’s true that the presence of Jesus in our lives is far better than any accomplishment that’s not what Jesus is saying in John 15.

You see Jesus says if you abide in Him “you will produce much fruit.” I ironically always missed that part. This is where is gets almost unbelievable. The invitation Jesus offers us is to slow down, abide in Him, know He is with us and yet get more done at the same time. We are taught here the life-changing truth that in reality prayer is the greatest productivity. Your desire to see revival and do great things is something God gave you, it’s a good thing, but the catch is God wants you to do those things with Him because apart from him you can do nothing.

Christian, productivity is a real thing and John 15 Jesus tells us exactly where to find it.

Prayer

Pray the Lord would grant you faith to truly believe prayer is the ultimate productivity. May you see the prayer closet truly as a war room. May you have a bold confidence that His anointing is why you will be a part of revival as opposed to your great ideas or intense work ethic.

Seeking the Revivalist

Seeking the Revivalist

Seeking the Revivalist

Psalm 24:1-10
By: Bryant Lee, Pastor, Higher Expectations Church, President of the Collaborative Fellowship

Our western culture of revival makes revival more about us than about God. When I hear people often talk about revival, it’s not in anticipation of God showing up in their lives it is more about an experience based on feeling that something is happening to us rather than something happening in us.

Psalm 24 is a song that reminds us how to pursue revival in anticipation of having an encounter with the reviver.

The psalmist opens up by reminding us of the God of all creation and that ultimately everything that we see, feel, hear and touch is a result of his creation.

Yahweh is the one who has created all things and that you and I are simply experiencing the overwhelming beauty of His creation.

It is with this understanding, we can look to God with hopeful anticipation that he is more than able to revive our weary souls.

In the next stanza of verses three through six, we get a sense of preparation before being revived. Who may venture to have an audience with the Lord. We naturally would argue this is the role of priests, however we can see that it is a beckoning for God’s people also. Let us look afresh at the psalmist encouragement like a director through a lens positioning actors for the perfect shoot.

The first requirement is clean hands and a pure heart. Simply put our actions and intentions must stride together in preparation of meeting the one who can revive us.

Then we are reminded of the focal point of our worship. The psalmist reminds us that the idolatry that surrounds us must be rejected as counterfeit and catastrophic to our desire for revival.

While not all inclusive of what it takes to bring personal and corporate revival the desire for integrity of heart is listed as a key foundational principle for revival.

Here in verse six we get a glimpse of the corporate nature of revival with this statement. “Such is the generation of those who seek Him”.

In the third stanza of the Psalm we are encouraged to pursue the reviver with great anticipation, verses seven through ten.

What makes revival possible is our desire and anticipation of an encounter with God. It is with expectation that God will join us as we acknowledge and call out to Him that makes our pursuit of revival possible.

Let me encourage us not to see revival as a momentary fixing of the soul, but as a daily desire to shape an even deeper intimacy with Jesus the true Revivalist.

Prayer

Lord there is none like you, your handiwork is on full display in all that you have created. Forgive our shortcomings and remove our desire for sin, meet us in our secret place and transform our hearts. Lord it is you that we need, to this end come in and revive us.

When the Holy Spirit Stirs Up

When the Holy Spirit Stirs Up

When the Holy Spirit Stirs Up

Ezra 1:1,5
By: Rev. Dr. David Kim, President and Lead Pastor of Glocal Mission

May 1, 2018

The success of Ezra’s physical rebuilding project and spiritual reformission (physical rebuilding + spiritual transformation) campaign was not based upon his own wit and strategy but solely on God’s initiatives and power. We read twice in Ezra 1:1 the Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, and in 1:5 everyone whose spirit God had stirred to go up to rebuild the house of
the Lord that is in Jerusalem. When the Holy Spirit stirs up the heart of His people, spiritual revivals and missional reformission happen. The Bible records several great revivals where people in great numbers turned to God and gave up their sinful ways of living.

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Each revival was characterized by a leader who recognized his nation’s spiritual dryness. And in each case, the leader tookaction and was not afraid to make God’s desires and Kingdom agenda known to the people. We often talk much about the Great Commission but in reality few of us are being discipled by someone and in turn, making disciples who make disciples that multiply churches. Today, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who forgave our sins through His death and resurrection calls us out by His Holy Spirit to become fishers of men not merely keepers of an aquarium. The Holy Spirit bids us to be powerful witnesses (Acts 1:8, Gk. martyrion=martyrs) who make disciples that make disciples of Jesus. Would you like to join me in proclaiming Jesus Christ from all Scriptures, in order to make disciples from all the nations to all nations?

Prayer

“O Lord of the Harvest, purify my heart, let my heart be stirred up by your Spirit for the very things that break your heart. Use me for the Great Commission tasks locally and globally. In the precious name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Amen.”