Revival. I ache for it. I know, I said that last week…but it is still true and so I had to say it again.
If you read last week’s blog you might think I was depressed, frustrated, or aggravated. You might think that I think that the church is fatally flawed and everyone inside is out of touch. I certainly don’t think that. The church is God’s idea, Jesus loves the church, he died for the church, and it is the church that he will deliver back to God at the end of time according to 1 Corinthians 15. I am not a church hater. I love her with all my heart. I have and plan on continuing to serve Jesus Christ and his church until I breathe my last breath.
I am thankful that there are a lot of people in the church who are on fire for God. I love it when I see that. There is absolutely nothing like being around people who have God and His Son Jesus Christ as their whole world. They encourage me, they motivate me to stay strong in the faith. Being around them is a breath of fresh air. There are many who are growing, serving, and showing a watching world who Jesus is by the way they live in this world. Praise God for people like that who get it and live it. But (there is always one of those isn’t there), in spite of that, there is no doubt that the church as a whole remains in need of revival.
Let me just talk about my tribe (the churches of Christ) for a minute. Let me share with you two disturbing facts.
- Over the last ten years 200 people every week have left the churches of Christ.
- Over the last ten years, every week in America, a church of Christ goes out of business and closes its doors forever.
I share these statistics with you just in case you don’t think it really isn’t all that bad. Bottom line…we are in desperate need of REVIVAL. While there are some churches of Christ that are growing and doing very well MOST find themselves in a different and difficult place. If you think this is just a church of Christ issue you would be wrong. Churches of all different denominations and afiliations find themselves in similar places. I am a statistics guy and they are bad across the board.
Now, we can blame it on culture; we can blame it on this new generation; we can place blame in hundreds of places. Or instead of wasting time placing blame, how about we try to do something about it?
I am preaching in a community about 40 miles from my home and the topic that I was given to speak on is Nehemiah: A Man Ready to Build. My plan is to talk to that great congregation of believers about what Nehemiah did when he heard about the brokenness of his people. I am convinced that we need to do exactly what he did. Nehemiah did four things…(you can find these in Nehemiah 1)
- He mourned and wept over the current state of God’s people. This was no, “oh no that’s terrible”and then go on with my business response. This news so struck his heart that he could not contain his sadness. And it moved him to…
- He fasted and prayed. As he mourned and wept he did something significant…he called on the name of the Lord!! Day after day for months, he called on the name of the Lord. This was no quick prayer before a meal. This was Nehemiah out of his sorrow and from the depth of his soul crying out to God.
- He confessed and repented. Nehemiah says God you are just, and you are justified in the punishment that you laid out to us. We deserved everything we have received. We have sinned against you, we have acted corruptly, we have not kept your commandments. I love this…there are no excuses. No blaming someone else just confession (a lost art among the people of God) and repentance.
- He did something bold. Nehemiah knows that what he is attempting to do, what he is asking the king for is in accordance with God’s will and plan for his people and so he moves with boldness. That is what it means to seek the face of God. To seek the things that he wants. To seek the things that bring him glory and honor.
As he does…what does God do…he hears from heaven, forgives and heals. He moves and amazing, miraculous things begin to happen.
I believe God wants to do the same thing for his church TODAY!! He wants to hear, forgive and heal. The question is do we have any Nehemiah’s who will humble themselves, pray and seek his face? Do we have any who will do what it ever it takes to bring revival first to their own hearts and then to the people of God?
Revival. I ache for it. But I am also praying for it every day. I am getting my own heart right with God every single day. I am, to the best of my ability, being bold for the Kingdom of Heaven’s sake.
Care to join me?