You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2012.

“Revivals begin with God’s own people; the Holy Spirit touches their heart anew, and gives them new fervour and compassion, and zeal, new light and life, and when He has thus come to you, He next goes forth to the valley of dry bones…Oh, what responsibility this lays on the Church of God! If you grieve Him away from yourselves, or hinder His visit, then the poor perishing world suffers sorely!”

~ Andrew A. Bonar

Advertisements

A revival is nothing else than a new beginning of obedience to God.

~ Charles Finney, Lectuires on Revivals of Religion

by ROBERT STRIVENS

10 Lessons from Faithful Ministry Without Revival

On the whole, pastors in the West today minister without seeing revival on a large scale. Yet many of the role models we have adopted from history did labor in revival times: Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and Charles Spurgeon, among them. They have a great deal to teach us, of course. But their very success, in terms of numbers converted, can have a discouraging effect on us who minister in leaner days.

It is worth examining, therefore, the lives of men and women who lived in more ordinary times, yet served the Lord faithfully and effectively. One such person was a contemporary of Jonathan Edwards. Like Edwards, he ministered in Northampton, but this was Northampton in England, not New England. He was Philip Doddridge (1702-51), who served for 20 years as pastor of a fairly large congregation in that town.

Doddridge also ran an academy that trained men for pastoral ministry, kept up a continual flow of publications, maintained a wide correspondence, and sustained a regular itinerant preaching ministry. Although he lived during the early years of the Evangelical Revival in Britain, his own ministry was largely unaffected by it, as he was confined to existing congregations of Independents and Presbyerians.

How then did he operate, and what can we learn from him? Here, briefly, are 10 lessons:

1. Doddridge’s priority was his own congregation. He pastored them faithfully, preaching to them every Lord’s Day and on weekday meetings, unless he was away from town. He admitted that he did not visit them as often as he would have liked. To compensate, he divided up the congregation with his elders, so that each individual did receive regular pastoral visits from a church officer, if not from the pastor himself.

2. He believed firmly in the importance of a well-ordered local church—church membership, properly appointed church officers, effective church discipline, reverent worship, a frequent Lord’s Supper, and regular biblical preaching.

3. He took great care to maintain his daily devotional life, with extended periods of private prayer and Bible reading, usually two or three times each day. He kept a journal that recorded his times of devotion as well as his reading and studies. He was attentive to the confession of personal sin, to intercession for his family and congregation, to pleading with the Lord for greater usefulness in his ministry, and to adoration of his triune God. He valued the Lord’s Supper highly indeed as an essential means of grace for the believer.

For the other seven lessons…

“Revival awakens in our hearts an increased awareness of the presence of God, a new love for God, a new hatred for sin and a hunger for His Word”

` Del Fehsefeld Jr. ‘Seeking Him’ Life action Ministries p. 13.

One of my greatest joys in research is talking to and listening to those who clearly identify themselves as non-Christians. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not celebrating their absence of faith in Christ. My joy comes from listening to those who don’t believe as I do, so that I might be better equipped to witness to them.

Over the past several years, my research teams and I have interviewed thousands of unchurched non-Christians. Among the more interesting insights I gleaned were those where the interviewees shared with me their perspectives of Christians.

In this article, I group the seven most common types of comments in order of frequency. I then follow that representative statement with a direct quote from a non-Christian. Read these comments and see if you learn some of the lessons I learned.

  1. Christians are against more things than they are for. “It just seems to me that Christians are mad at the world and mad at each other. They are so negative that they seem unhappy. I have no desire to be like them and stay upset all the time.”
  2. I would like to develop a friendship with a Christian. “I’m really interested in what they believe and how they carry out their beliefs. I wish I could find a Christian that would be willing to spend some time with me.”
  3. I would like to learn about the Bible from a Christian. “The Bible really fascinates me, but I don’t want to go to a stuffy and legalistic church to learn about it. I would be nice if a Christian invited me to study the Bible in his home or at a place like Starbucks.”
  4. I don’t see much difference in the way Christians live compared to others. “I really can’t tell what a Christian believes because he doesn’t seem much different than other people I know. The only exception would be Mormons. They really seem to take their beliefs seriously.”
  5. I wish I could learn to be a better husband, wife, dad, mom, etc., from a Christian.“My wife is threatening to divorce me, and I think she means it this time. My neighbor is a Christian, and he seems to have it together. I am swallowing my pride and asking him to help me.”
  6. Some Christians try to act like they have no problems. “Harriett works in my department. She is one of those Christians who seem to have a mask on. I would respect her more if she didn’t put on such an act. I know better.”
  7. I wish a Christian would take me to his or her church. “I really would like to visit a church, but I’m not particularly comfortable going by myself. What is weird is that I am 32-years old, and I’ve never had a Christian invite me to church in my entire life.”

Do you see the pattern? Non-Christians want to interact with Christians. They want to see Christians’ actions match their beliefs. They want Christians to be real.

For the rest of the post…

The Mocking of Muhammad and Condemning of Christ

by David Mathis | September 14, 2012

Permalink

Jesus’s uniqueness and beauty is on display if his followers respond with grace when he is reviled.

When adherents of Islam counter the mocking of their central figure with outrage and violence, they provide “another vivid depiction of the difference between Muhammad and Christ, and what it means to follow each,” says John Piper.

Piper concedes that not all Muslims approve the violence, but notes that a profound lesson still stands: “The work of Muhammad is based on being honored and the work of Christ is based on being insulted. This produces two very different reactions to mockery.”

A Deep Difference Between Jesus and Muhammad

Jesus is unique. And Christians believe there is a divine beauty in the mocking that he willingly subjects himself to by becoming man — because it’s a mocking and reviling and bruising and dying that is for us and for our salvation. Piper continues in his 2006 article, “Being Mocked: The Essence of Christ’s Work, Not Muhammad’s”:

If Christ had not been insulted, there would be no salvation. This was his saving work: to be insulted and die to rescue sinners from the wrath of God. Already in the Psalms the path of mockery was promised: “All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads” (Psalm 22:7). “He was despised and rejected by men . . . as one from whom men hide their faces . . . and we esteemed him not” (Isaiah 53:3).

When it actually happened it was worse than expected. “They stripped him and put a scarlet robe on him, and twisting together a crown of thorns, they put it on his head. . . . And kneeling before him, they mocked him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ And they spit on him” (Matthew 27:28–30). His response to all this was patient endurance. This was the work he came to do. “Like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth” (Isaiah 53:7).

This was not true of Muhammad. And most Muslims do not believe it is true of Jesus. Most Muslims have been taught that Jesus was not crucified. . . . An essential Muslim impulse is to avoid the “ignominy” of the cross.

That’s the most basic difference between Christ and Muhammad and between a Muslim and a follower of Christ. For Christ, enduring the mockery of the cross was the essence of his mission. And for a true follower of Christ enduring suffering patiently for the glory of Christ is the essence of obedience. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11).

For the rest of the article…

Revival is a new discovery of Jesus.

~ Professor James Stewart, quoted by Duncan Campbell, The Lewis Awakening, 1949-1953, 36.

The tragedy of this hour is that we have too many dead men giving out dead sermons to dead people.

Why?

Because the strange thing today which exists in the pulpit is a horrible thing: it is preaching without unction.

~ Leonard Ravenhill

God Squad

A 9-11 Prayer

September 11, 2012 by John Potter

“Heavenly Father, we ask that You continue to heal and restore as we remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Comfort those who mourn the loss of loved ones from that day and all the actions that have followed in its wake.

Be with our military as they leave their families and sacrifice blood, sweat, and tears on our behalf.

Guide our leaders as they direct our nation.

Eternal God, help us to fix our eyes on You, to live like Christ, and to respond to Your Holy Spirit.

Amen.”

For the rest of the post…

I was struck by the fact that abortion was so front and center at the Democratic National Convention. During one night of the DNC, I tweeted:

It deeply disturbs me to see a stadium full of people cheer whenever abortion is affirmed.

It was the most retweeted statement I ever made. I understand that they were cheering, in their minds, the “choice,” but that choice is to have an abortion– to end a life. To stop a beating heart. As a pro-life person, I believe that abortion is wrong. Yet, I think a stadium full of people cheering it is tragic.

The Democratic Platform expresses their view of abortion this way:

The Democratic Party strongly and unequivocally supports Roe v. Wade and a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her pregnancy, including a safe and legal abortion, regardless of ability to pay. We oppose any and all efforts to weaken or undermine that right.

In simpler terms, that means freedom to choose abortion until the moment of birth (or partially born) and the government paying for it if the person cannot.

Needless to say, I was struck by how aggressive the Democrats were on the subject, no longer talking about reducing abortion or making it “rare,” but cheering its mention. It turns out I was not the only one who noticed.

For the rest of the post…

September 2012
M T W T F S S
« Aug   Oct »
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Categories

Pages

Recent Comments

Helen Williamson on Revival Can Come When Everythi…
Moses Kingsley asuer… on C.S. Lewis on Answered Pr…
Dr. Bryan E. Gallowa… on J. Edwin Orr on Prayer and…
richard on Classic Billy Graham Book (I L…
Lin Phillips on J. Edwin Orr on Prayer and…
Advertisements