My wife and I (as well as a corporate-call to our church), have been burdened and mandated by the Lord to diligently seek Him for revival. Now I’m not talking a weekend booking of casual services, no, but a mighty out-pouring of God’s Spirit to save the lost, heal the sick, and shake our communities for the Lord. And No, not specifically “for” or even “from” our church as if to gain “the spot-light,” but a genuine, sincere, mighty move of the Holy Spirit through all the churches here in Central Louisiana.
You see, growing up in church my whole life over the past 33 years, I’ve come to see the church almost completely lose sight of what actually births revival, as well as what actually draws in the people. I’ve been caught up in the “movements,” the “hypes,” the “New Thing(s)” that preachers are pushing. I’ve seen pastors invest more time and money into the walls of the church, and not even half of that energy into the walls of their own hearts. (I’m not being judgmental. I’m honestly broken to see how far we, the Christian church have come from the call to the great commission, as well as the means by which it is accomplished.) We can assume what’s logical to us, or seek the Lord and use what the Bible tells us “draws the people.”
I’ve been told by degreed scholars in the church we need to “bait the lost.” We need to “become all things to all men,” though scriptural, even to the point of theological compromise (whether they’d admit it or not). We’ve come to a point that our churches have become more social clubs or outfits, ready to satisfy the flesh with comfort coffee, easy sermons that aren’t Biblically honest with a sinner, and musical incense that has more focus on the emotional impact than the spiritual one. Let’s be honest and ask ourselves: Are we truly converting sinners to saints, or just adding members? We’ve lost the tabernacles of God where His people cry out in brokenness longing for His presence through conviction of sin. Somehow, somewhere along the lines we’ve traded our worship for entertainment, our prayer for pomp, our fasting for indulgence, our intercession for blessing, and our holiness & righteousness for a warped sense of abusing God’s grace given to overcome sin, not indulge in it.
You see, if we the church, really want to “draw the crowds” or “bait the sinner,” we actually have to not only believe what the Bible says our focus should be on, but actually apply what the Bible says our focus should be on:
“And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me.” -John 12:32
Yes, it’s that simple. My wife and I found that the more we pray, and the less we “play,” God moves very strongly in our church; even bringing in new people. John Wesley, founder of the Methodist movement said this, “Light yourself on fire with passion for God, and people will come for miles just to watch you burn.” If we want a true, real, genuine move of His Holy Spirit, we first need to “burn” with revival fire, and that comes strictly from our prayer closet.
“Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will harken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all of your heart.” -Jeremiah 29:12-13
William J. Seymour, greatly attributed to the “Azusa Street Revival” of 1906, understood this Biblical truth very well. The image posted below is of the old house where his call to grave intercession began. Born in Centerville, LA, he had a tumultuous journey of prejudice, both racially & theologically, that eventually led to one of the (if not the greatest) world-wide reaching revival of all time.
A very powerful historical move of God worth researching by the way, but the take-away I’m getting at is this: HE PRAYED! …CONSTANTLY!!! That’s it! He didn’t have pristine stage displays, or smoke machines, multicolored lights, or flawless musicians stoking every chord to perfection ringing multi effects intended to draw every goosebump from the surface of your skin, …no. He had worn, callused knees that were consistently bent in brokenness for the lost, he had an uncharted humility that literally buried his head in a crate as he cried to the Lord, and an unwavering adoration for the God he feared and loved. With that, he drew THOUSANDS to salvation worldwide. People came from all over the world to “watch him burn.” Even today, over 100 years later, his testimony still affects & influences others to intercede not entertain.
I write this right now only in an aching heart hoping those who read this would be shaken to personal reflection because I myself was once caught up in the hype of “modern Christianity.” The lights & show. And if to be honest with myself then, I was more in-tuned with the visual & verbal pleasures my church offered, and not the life changing grace our God offers. As to reiterate, it’s not wrong to put lights on the stage, or other “decor,” but when our truest since of personal fulfillment or spiritual motivation for numbers has become visual and/or musical entertainment, and not His life-changing presence, …we’ve lost it. Completely in fact. I pray, even now that as you’re reading this, you reflect now as I have done (many times in fact), to see where your heart truly lies.
Pastor, are you more invested on the physical stage and not your prayer closet? If so, repent.
Worship team member or leader, are you spending more time in orchestrating every sound to perfecting its finest detail while losing time in personal worship to Jesus on your knees at home? If so, repent.
Media techs, are we focused on what color the lights are at certain times of the service to surface a mood or emotion, instead of waging war in the spirit while souls are delivered the gospel to potential “thorny grounds?”
And lastly, again to pastors, have we lost the gospel in terms of holiness & righteousness for fear of offending the hearers? Have we succumbed to a message that does little more than make people feel good, and not save their soul from the unrepentant sin that leads them to the fires of hell? If so, repent…