Outlast the Stars

All Christians and all churches are engaged in one of three activities: guarding the dead past, creating fleshly trifles that will perish, or working in cooperation with the Holy Spirit in the constant creation of eternal treasure that will outlast stars. – Tozer

This quote has been on my mind and in my spirit for a while. It has caused me to take an honest look at my life direction. It is an irritant that is buried deep down in my soul and I am hoping it produces a pearl.

Photo by Adam Foster

Which activity are we engaged in?

Are we content with guarding a dead past? I am thankful for every blessing, every miracle, and every soul saved. I thank God for every great revival that has swept through this world but I am not satisfied with staying here. I’m not satisfied with guarding the gift that God gave us as if someone could come and take it away. He didn’t give us the gift to guard it, He gave us the gift so that we could share it. We must move forward from here.

However, we must be careful that we don’t fall into the second group; a group that is especially prevalent today. The plans that God has for us, the work He has called us to do, the revival that He wants to send, cannot be sustained by our own talent and creativity. Yes, God gave us the talent. Yes, God gave us the creativity. But these gifts can only be maximized when used under the direction of the Holy Spirit. We cannot go forward without His leading.

I’m not interested in staying where we are and I’m not interested in moving forward on our own. I’m listening for the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Where He leads me, I will follow. It is my prayer that as I go, His will is accomplished and His Kingdom is advanced through me.

I’m going to be a part of something that outlasts the stars because I am going with Him.

Advertisements

Four Vessels for Revival

In 2 Kings 4 we read of a widow who owes a debt that she cannot pay. All she has is a pot of oil, not enough to make a difference (so she thinks). The creditor is really putting on the pressure, threatening that if she does not pay, he will be forced to take her sons as slaves.

Completely desperate for help she asks the Prophet, Elisha, what she should do. He tells her to go and borrow vessels from all of her neighbors; every empty vessel that can be found, bring it into the house. After collecting every vessel that could be found she was to take that pot of oil and pour it out into all the empty vessels.

The widow sent her sons to gather all the vessels in the village. It did not matter if they were large vessels or small vessels, ornate or plain. The only thing that mattered was that they be empty vessels. When they had finished gathering the vessels, she began to pour out the oil. As she poured, God miraculously multiplied the oil until every vessel was filled.

The oil represents the Holy Spirit. The empty vessels represent the empty souls of mankind, but notice, it took four types of vessels for the miracle to come to pass; it took a vessel of vision to see (Elisha), a vessel of faith to believe (widow), vessels of courage to do (sons), and empty vessels.

May God give us the vision to see, the faith to believe, and the courage to do.

The LORD is still filling empty vessels!

Ghana Update 3.21.11

Look!

God is moving in a mighty way here in Ghana! To all of my friends and family who made this trip possible, Thank You! Here are a few highlights from the last several weeks.

  • During regular services, a total of 182 were baptized in Jesus’ name and 135 received the baptism of the Holy Spirit including a father-in-law of one of the Presbyters.
  • A new church was started in March and ten were baptized in Jesus’ name and four received the baptism of the Holy Spirit so far.
  • A new church plant has twenty-five in attendance and fifteen have already been baptized in Jesus’ name.
  • A new preaching point was established.
  • A pastor and his family from another organization have been baptized in Jesus’ name.
  • A Youth Camp Meeting had 500 in attendance.
  • Twenty-two were baptized in Jesus’ name and eighteen received the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Revival is here! This is just the beginning!

Methods

Methods!

 

What is a method?  What methods for evangelism/revival work?  Which ones don’t work?  What methods did the early church use?  What methods were used during the revivals in the early 1900’s?  Would those methods still work?  Did they really even have methods?  Is that a method, or an excuse to neglect Truth?

This is a short list of the “methods” questions being talked about in coffee shops, debated on twitter, and written about in numerous articles.  It is a question I have wrestled with personally.  In fact, I have wrestled with the question of “am I wrestling too much with the question of methods?”

I am not here to proclaim that we should shut down every conversation about methods, not by any means.  But before we spend too much time on methods, we better make sure that we are giving the proper time and effort to the foundational methods; there are some methods which have always been, and will always be, a part of every revival and outpouring of God’s Spirit and Truth. 

From the birth of the Church until this present day and every day following, prayer has always been the foundation and precursor to an outpouring of God’s Spirit and a revelation of Truth.

Leonard Ravenhill put it like this, “The Church began with these men in the ‘upper room’ agonizing – and today it is ending with men in the supper room organizing.  The Church began in revival; we are ending in ritual.”

What we need before we focus on any other method is men and women that will give themselves to agonizing, soul-stirring, hell-fighting, door-opening intercessory prayer for a lost and dying world.  Hopefully we spend as much time in prayer as we spend debating, discussing, organizing, and implementing other methods. 

If we will give ourselves to prayer first, I believe four things will happen.

     1.  We will learn to rely on God rather than any method.  Prayer and fasting (and similar disciplines) are the only universal methods that will work in all places at all times. 

     2.  God will give us wisdom to utilize methods that will work in our culture in our time.  Obviously these could look incredibly different from city to city, state to state, and especially country to country.

     3.  All honestly employed, Biblically aligned methods will garner results.  I have to believe that if we will prayerfully do our part, that God will honor that by “drawing all men.”

     4.  We will easily discern the difference between a method and a neglecting of Truth.  Leading with prayer will not lead us to leave Truth.

Allow me to express my opinion this way.  I write.  But most of the time I stew.  I convince myself that I’m doing something important, but really I’m just stewing.  There comes a point when even the good work of preparation, study, source gathering, organizing, and outlining begins to impede the actual work of writing.  Almost every time I write, I reach a point at which I must convince myself to stop the busy and start the real work.

Isn’t that kind of where we are?  I agree that methods are important and I am not against discussing what will work.  But it won’t matter if I am not doing the actual work (and maybe work isn’t a good term, but I think you understand).

Please, pray for lost souls.  Pray for revival.  Pray for an outpouring of God’s Spirit.  Pray for Truth to be revealed to the hearts of men.

Pray.  And then pray some more.  Maybe God will reveal the method that you need to use in your city while you are praying?

Pulling Revival From My Hat

I am currently reading John Maxwell’s latest book Everyone Communicates Few Connect.  I will be giving a review of the book for Booksneeze this weekend or early next week, but I want to take a moment now to share a brief story that Mr. Maxwell tells and some thoughts that I had.  This what Mr. Maxwell had to say…

“A few years ago, I was being interviewed on a television talk show.  The host held up a couple of my books and said, “John, I’ve read several of your books, and they are all so simple.”  His tone of voice, body language, and mannerisms made it clear to me and the audience that he did not mean it as a compliment!

My response was straightforward: “That’s true.  The principles in my books are simple to understand.  But they are not always simple to apply.”

First of, all I must admit (sorry Mr. Maxwell) that I have been that television talk show host.  I read a lot of Mr. Maxwell’s books  in my teen years and skipped several of his books because I thought they were too simple.  But he is exactly right, it is the application of those principles that is important, and having the discipline to apply the principles is not always easy!

Second, let me apply this to the Church and our desire for revival, victory over sin, and lost souls to be saved.  I think that sometimes, perhaps without realizing it, we look for some magical formula that will bring the results that we are looking for; some complex mashup of the right programs, the right atmosphere, the right charisma, the right social issues, etc.  Instead, the answer is right in front of us in the simple principles taught in the Word of God.

Read & Study your Bible.

Pray.

Fast.

Serve Others.

Worship.

Share the Gospel.

Fairly simple principles to understand.  Not always easy to put into practice.

ABRACADABRA!  Hmm…didn’t work.  I better go pray!