People are talking about it. The late night talk shows are devoting whole programs to it. The media are buzzing… Commentators such as Glenn Beck are making dire predictions of the future; many Christians are convinced that the End is near at hand.
An anonymous comment on this blog’s Monday post demonstrated a sense of urgency:
“My emotions are overwhelming the last few days. Your blogs have encouraged me to lead and to move forward in the battle for Christ. I feel a revival is coming. I feel God is working in many of our lives and leading us. May God continue to lead you and to commit you to the work he has planned.”
Something is going on out there!
The international situation is growing more and more dangerous. Christians are under persecution in so many places throughout the world. Christianity has become a thing of the past in areas of Europe and America, and is suffering and stagnant in other places worldwide. Islam is on the rise everywhere. Society has lost its mind and America’s national leadership is pathetic; the people are more and more dissatisfied and angry… Something has ti give here. Many believe that this December is the End, or at least the beginning of the End…
I am not one of them. From where I am sitting, the situation look perfect!
I must disagree with the comment I copied here on one point: I do not agree that Revival is coming… Revival is already here! It is here in churches all around the world, but nobody is going to report it. We are in the early stages, it seems to me and it hasn’t yet spread and become unavoidable. There are churches in many parts of America, as well as in other countries around the world that are vibrant, growing, doing incredible work, changing lives and on fire for the Gospel; maybe you attend such a church.
These churches are in the minority as far as gross number of existing churches, but the movement is spreading… The problem is that 80 percent or so of existing churches are resisting; they are trapped in their own traditions. Read my post “Looking for Church Jobs” for more on this and how I came to see the trend. People (and churches) tend to hold tightly to their traditions in lieu of growing spiritually; it is far more comfortable. ”Self” is the enemy of spiritual growth and relationship with our Lord, Tradition is a manifestation of self; we do the things we have always done, the things we like and prefer and we remain in our comfort zones… and growing is never comfortable. Of course, this is not to say that traditions are necessarily bad, some are good. The problem comes when we hold on to them so tightly that we are no longer following Jesus Christ.
Change is Possible
I‘ve been told by experts and church planners that you just cannot revitalize a rural traditional country church; that the best thing to do is to shut it down and start over with a new church plant. I disagree, and I’ve been involved in doing that very impossible thing in Milan, Illinois.
One of these days, I ought to write down the story of Milan Christian Church; it could prove useful for those in similar places who are led to grow a church, but for now, I’ll simply tell you that MCC has grown from a little inward-looking church, trapped in tradition and self to a church that is vibrant, alive and growing. We are only around a hundred, so you might say that our story is not yet complete… and you would be right. On the other hand, our growth on a percentage basis is significant. Our growth in terms of transforming lives is amazing and awesome to behold, to the Glory of God!
This past Sunday an amazing thing happened, and many have commented on it to me in the short time since; the Holy Spirit was so obviously present that even the most obtuse person (and by that I am referring to myself) couldn’t miss it or deny it. The Holy Spirit was present in the music in a way that I doubt I could describe here. We have someone come up front for Communion and say a few appropriate words, and the guy who did so, and who has done so many times, was altogether different in tone and demeanor than I have ever seen him; it was literally as though someone else were speaking in a bold, powerful and dramatic presentation of the Gospel that gave us all goosebumps.
The sermon was my responsibility that day, as our pastor was out-of-town. That I was speaking is entirely irrelevant, let’s be clear on that; what came after was not my doing. In fact, I did not give the presentation that I had planned; very early on I was entirely distracted and lost focus (something that doesn’t happen to me when speaking). As a result, I just sat down on the back of a chair and talked to the people like they were all in my home, breaking every rule of public speaking in the process. You must understand that I have been a profession public speaker for twenty plus years; I am good at it, but what was happening was not normal. I cannot take credit for the words I spoke, in fact it seemed to me like I was a witness, as though I were watching someone else speak. (no joke) As an Elder in the church, I know our people pretty well, and what happened after that was better than if it had been scripted. Once more I must make it clear that nothing that went on Sunday was my doing; if our paster had been present, I am sure that the very same thing would have happened; it was all God’s doing.
The response of the people was the best thing, because it confirmed to me that I wasn’t just crazy! People came forward spontaneously to give testimony about what God has been doing in their lives, people placed membership, and you should see my inbox this week!
If you are still reading, you must realize that Revival is here now; things are happening, God is very busy. I doubt that the End is all that near, but we need to be ready always in case it is.
The world around us is going nuts.
Excellent! God is on the offensive! This is the time for Christians to stand up for Christ, to pour it on, to be open to the Spirit’s leading, to redouble their efforts… for the path ahead is a glorious one, and you and I are living now in this time and place; we will witness God’s awesome power!