Tuesday, October 31, 2006

We Were Created to Pray

Blaise Pascal makes it clear that we were created by God for prayer because we were created for God. His words...

"If man is not made for God, why us he only happy in God? If man is made for God, why is so opposed to God?"

There is no need to be opposed to the one who gives us life and breath and everything else. Thus, let us pray!


Monday, October 30, 2006

Do We Possess a Sense of Urgency?

Good morning. Andy Stanley reminds us that each there should be a sense of urgency in life. As Christ-followers, we are all on a mission to get the good news about Jesus out. Of course, fervent prayer must be the fuel for our day.

"It's the ultimate defining moment. The one we're all aware of but all avoid: One day our life on earth will end. Time is running out. We don't know how much time is left, but we know it won't last forever.

It's an undeniable fact. ... There's a lot we can't explain about death. But based on undeniable facts, there are some very important conclusions we can draw that will impact us not only for the rest of this life, but also in the life to come."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Good Morning

Good Morning. What a beautiful day it is in Omaha this morning. I am in the office multitasking on this blog site, tomorrow's sermon and a wedding later today. I finally was able to upload a picture on blogger. I will see if it turns out okay.

Stay close to Jesus


Friday, October 27, 2006

How Does God See Us?

Prayer, by far, is the best means to approach the Lord. We can put on our Sunday best in terms of clothing and appearance. But the Lord looks to see if our hearts are prayerfully devoted to him.

Robert Murray M'Cheyne put it this way: "A man is what he is on his knees before God, and nothing more"

How worn out our are knees?

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Renewal Through Prayer

The American church is in great need for spiritual revival. Perhaps another way of stating this is that the church needs renewal. There is a million and one modern attempts to revive the church. But the only way that will bring about true spiritual revival is fervent prayer. A.C. Dixon put it this...

"When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do."

Well said. And if it is true, then the question is: "Do we depend upon prayer in the life of the church?" Revival will not come until we do.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What a Prayer!

Take a close look at this prayer by Thomas Reade and notice the emphasis on personal piety and total devotion to the Savior Jesus.

"Oh! divine Redeemer, out of whose inexhaustible fullness I would daily draw a rich supply of grace into my needy soul, be pleased to impart unto me an undivided heart; that to please You, may be my greatest happiness, and to promote Your glory my highest honor. Preserve me from false motives, from a double mind, and a divided heart. Keep me entirely to Yourself, and enable me to crucify every lust, which would tempt my heart from You. Enable me by Your grace to walk in one uniform path of holy, childlike obedience. When tempted to turn aside to the right hand or to the left, may I keep steadily Your way, until brought before Your throne, I see Your face, behold Your smile, and fall in ecstasy at Your feet, lost in wonder, love, and praise."

Thomas Reade, "On the Blessedness of a New Heart"

Personal revival can lead to corporate revival.

Have a good day


Monday, October 23, 2006

The Need For Personal Revival

The Puritan Richard Baxter wrote that we all have the need for personal revival. Though he wrote from a pastoral perspective, we do learn that daily we are to repent from our sins and be renewed through the Holy Spirit.

"Know not what others think, but for my own part I am ashamed of my stupidity, and wonder at myself that I deal not with my own and others souls as one that looks for the great day of the Lord; and that I can have room for almost any other thoughts and words; and that such astonishing matters do not wholly absorb my mind. I marvel how I can preach of them slightly and coldly; and how I can let men alone in their sins; and that I do not go to them, and beseech them, for the Lord's sake, to repent, however they may take it, and whatever pain and trouble it should cost me.

I seldom come out of the pulpit but my conscience smiteth me that I have been no more serious and fervent. It accuseth me not so much for want of ornaments and elegancy, nor for letting fall an unhandsome word; but it asketh me, 'How couldst thou speak of life and death with such a heart? How couldst thou preach of heaven and hell in such a careless, sleepy manner? Dost thou believe what thou sayest? Art thou in earnest, or in jest? How canst thou tell people that sin is such a thing, and that so much misery is upon them and before them, and be no more affected with it? Shouldst thou not weep over such a people, and should not thy tears interrupt thy words? Shouldst thou not cry aloud, and show them their transgressions; and entreat and beseech them as for life and death?'

And for myself, as I am ashamed of my dull and careless heart, and of my slow and unprofitable course of life, so, the Lord knows, I am ashamed of every sermon I preach; when I think what I have been speaking of, and who sent me, and that men's salvation or damnation is so much concerned in it, I am ready to tremble lest God should judge me as a slighter of His truths and the souls of men, and lest in the best sermon I should be guilty of their blood. Methinks we should not speak a word to men in matters of such consequence without tears, or the greatest earnestness that possibly we can; were not we too much guilty of the sin which we reprove, it would be so.

Truly this is the peal that conscience doth ring in my ears, and yet my drowsy soul will not be awakened. Oh, what a thing is an insensible, hardened heart! O Lord, save us from the plague of infidelity and hard-heartedness ourselves, or else how shall we be fit instruments of saving others from it? Oh, do that on our souls which thou wouldst use us to do on the souls of others."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Marks of Revival

What is true biblical revival? J. I. Packer offers the following...

The features of revival movements on the surface vary widely, perhaps as a result of different settings, yet indeed God appears to delight in variety. Nevertheless, at the level of deeper analysis, there are constant factors recognizable in all biblical and post-biblical revivals, whatever their historical, racial, and cultural settings. They number five, and are described below.

Awareness of God's presence. The first and fundamental feature in revival is the sense that God has drawn awesomely near in his holiness, mercy, and might. This is felt as the fulfilling of the prayer of Isaiah 64:1ff: 'O that thou wouldst rend the heavens and come down, that the mountains might quake at thy presence . . . to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence.' God 'comes,' 'visits,' and 'draws near' to his people, and makes his majesty known. The effect is the same as it was for Isaiah himself, when he 'saw the Lord sitting on a throne' in the temple and heard the angels' song — 'Holy, holy, holy'— and was forced to cry, 'Woe is me, for I am ruined! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips' (Is. 6:1-5). It is with this searching, scorching manifestation of God's presence that revival begins, and by its continuance that revival is sustained.

Responsiveness to God's Word. The sense of God's presence imparts new authority to his truth. The message of Scripture which previously was making only a superficial impact, if that, now searches its hearers and readers to the depth of their being. The statement that 'the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart' (Heb. 4:12) is verified over and over again. God's message—the gospel call to repentance, faith, and holiness, to praise and prayer, witness and worship—authenticates itself unambiguously to men's consciences, and there is no room for half measures in response.

Sensitiveness to Sin. Deep awareness of what things are sinful and how sinful we are is the third feature of revival that calls for notice. No upsurge of religious interest or excitement merits the name of revival if there is no profound sense of sin at its heart. God's coming, and the consequent impact of his word, makes Christians much more sensitive to sin than they previously were: consciences become tender and a profound humbling takes place. The perverseness, ugliness, uncleanness, and guilt of sin are seen and felt with new vividness. Under revival conditions consciences are so quickened that conviction of each person's own sinfulness becomes strong and terrible, inducing agonies of mind that are beyond imagining till they happen. The gospel of forgiveness through Christ's cross comes to be loved as never before, as people see their need of it so much more clearly.

But conviction of sin is a means, not an end; the Spirit of God convinces of sin in order to induce repentance, and one of the more striking features of revival movements is the depth of repentance into which both saints and sinners are led. Repentance, as we know, is basically not moaning and remorse, but turning and change. Peter's listeners on the day of Pentecost were 'pierced to the heart,' which literally means to inflict with a violent blow, a vivid image of an acutely painful experience. Shattered, the congregation cried out, 'Brethren, what shall we do?' Peter showed them the way of faith, repentance, and discipleship through Jesus Christ, and three thousand of them took it (Acts 2:37-41). Revival always includes a profound awareness of one's own sinfulness, leading to deep repentance and heartfelt embrace of the glorified, loving, pardoning Christ.

Liveliness in Community. A revived church is full of the life, joy and power of the Holy Spirit. With the Spirit's coming, fellowship with Christ is brought right to the center of our worship and devotion; the glorified Christ is shown, known, loved, served, and exalted. Love and generosity, unity and joy, assurance and boldness, a spirit of praise and prayer, and a passion to reach out to win others are recurring marks of a people experiencing revival. So is divine power in their preachers, a power which has nothing to do with natural eloquence.

Fruitfulness in testimony. Revival always has an evangelistic and ethical overspill into the world. When God revives the church, the new life overflows from the church for the conversion of outsiders and renovation of society. Christians become fearless in witness and tireless in their Savior's service. They proclaim by word and deed the power of the new life, souls are won, and a community conscience informed by Christian values emerges. Also in revival times God acts quickly; his work accelerates. Truth spreads, and people are born again and grow in Christ, with amazing rapidity.

Such in outline is the constant pattern by which genuine movements of revival identify themselves. Christians in revival are accordingly found living in God's presence (coram Deo), attending to his word, feeling acute concern about sin and righteousness, rejoicing in the assurance of Christ's love and their own salvation, spontaneously constant in worship, and tirelessly active in witness and service, fueling these activities by praise and prayer. The question that presses is whether revival is actually displayed in the lives of Christian individuals and communities: whether this quality of Christian life is there or not.


James I. Packer is a professor of Systematic and Historical Theology at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the author of numerous books. His writings on revival include: God in Our Midst (Seeking and Receiving Ongoing Revival), Keep in Step With the Spirit (ch. 7), and A Quest for Godliness (The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life) (chs. 3 & 19

© 1998 International Awakening Ministries. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

What is a True Revival?

The word "revival" is often misunderstood among Christians. To some, it is a week of special meetings in the church. I drove by a church a few days ago, and there was a banner in front that said: "Revival in Process". Did a true, heaven-sent revival break out and then the banner was made?

Or was the revival planned in advance and the banner was made for a few nights of special meetings? I would guess the second.

Here is a definition of revival: "A true revival means nothing less than a revolution, casting out the spirit of worldliness, making God's love triumph in the heart." - Andrew Murray

My next blog will take this a little deeper.

Praying for Revival!


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Revival Will Bring Great Conviction Through Preaching

George Whitefield was no stranger to revival. He describes that the Holy Spirit brought about great conviction when he preached on the subject of sin: "I did then preach much upon original sin, repentance, the nature and necessity of conversion, in a close, examinatory and distinguished way; laboring in the meantime to sound the trumpet of God's judgments, and alarm the secure by the terrors of the Lord, as well as to affect them by other topics of persuasion: which method was sealed by the Holy Spirit in the conviction and conversion of a considerable number of persons, at various times and in different places in that part of the county."

Imagine church growth occurring though the conversion of souls. When revival comes, many of our friends, family neighbor's and even our enemies will embrace Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Please send revival Lord!


Monday, October 16, 2006

J. I. Packer's Definition of Revival

Good morning. Let us remind ourselves of what revival is. Here is J. I. Packer's concise definition of revival. "God's quickening visitation of his people, touching their hearts and deepening his work of grace in their lives."

Do we need such a touch from God? Well, if the church is continually filled with the Holy Spirit and disciples are being produced, then the answer is "no." However, if we in the church are not daily growing in grace and are nit touching a lost world for Jesus, then the answer is "yes."

If the Holy Spirit to visit his people, then we must be a people of prayer.

Stay Close to Jesus

Friday, October 13, 2006

Is it possible to prayer throughout the day?

The Bible says that we are to pray continually. How is that possible? Well, it depends on our closeness to the Lord. Are we close to the vine (Jesus)? If not, why not?

Charles Spurgeon said: "I always feel that there is something wrong if I go without prayer for even half an hour."

Thus, regardless of the time and circumstance of the day, we can stay close to the Lord through a prayerful awareness and dependence on Him. Like Spurgeon, we can have a built in alarm system (known as the Holy Spirit) that we need to redirect our focus above.

Let's keep on praying.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Why Do We Fail in Our Pursuit of Holiness?

A.W. Tozer, in his book, The Pursuit of God writes that we fail to become holy because we look more to ourselves than the Lord:

"Like the eye which sees everything in front of it and never sees itself, faith is occupied with the Object upon which it rests and pays no attention to itself at all. While we are looking at God, we do not see ourselves--blessed riddance. The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One."

I know what Tozer meant because years ago when I struggled with the sin of swearing, I was frustrated when I tried to fix the problem in my own strength. I failed often. However, when I focused more on Jesus, my language cleaned up.

We have a perfect Savior. Thus, let us look to him in praise and love and service. There really is nothing better in life.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Who Will Be Converted to Jesus This Sunday?

Charles Spurgeon taught his congregation to prayerfully expect people to come to faith every Sunday through the preaching of the Word. He said...

"We have this morning been praying for the conversion of many. We expect our prayers to be heard. The question is not, 'Will there be any converted this sermon?' but 'Who will it be?'"

Who will be saved this Sunday? Are we praying fervently for the conversion of souls?

Have a great day


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Prayers Full of Fire

I can quote Spurgeon for weeks. How much "fire" is in our prayers? Do we just fire off routine statements or do we truly pray with fervency?

"He (or she) who prays without fervency does not pray at all. We cannot commune with God, who is a consuming fire (Hebrews 12.29), if there is no fire in our prayers"

Have a great and prayerful day