There’s talk of revival

Psalm 85

I praise God when revival is on the church’s mind. I’m one that often asks the church to pray for it. So, praise God there’s a lot of that talk happening right now. 

People will often agree we need revival. But we aren’t sure what it is. What does it require of us? And what fruit should come of it? 

You can see that confusion in how we talk about what’s happening as Asbury today. At first, people called it a revival. Then they adapted and labeled it a renewal or an awakening. Of course, there are many who are leery of it all. I understand that. Revival has some bad history. Religious leaders have used it to manipulate and abuse people. And there have been plenty of in-name-only “revivals.”

Whatever the final classification at Asbury becomes, the hope is people open themselves to the Holy Spirit. That openness leads to change in hearts, which leads to change in communities. Of course, we also hope that happens every day in all places. But God can use one experience to ignite others.

So, we keep praying for revival because we need it, right?

Now, let’s recognize that if we say we need revival we’re saying something about ourselves. In one sense, to revive is to make alive again. If we make that our running definition, then we first have to confess we’ve been dead. The living God has opened abundant life for us all. Yet we’ve been unalive in our worship and service to God. 

We should note that doesn’t mean we have been inactive. What does the phrase “going through the motions” mean to you? 

To be sure, talk of revival isn’t the point. Praying for revival is a first step in the righteous direction. The desire to know God and to love God and God’s people more fully is a fruit of that prayer. But there’s no program, fundraiser or grand idea that can make that happen. We can’t talk our way to revival. Only learning how good God is can begin to move us there. 

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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