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MASS REVIVAL BREAKS OUT ACROSS TENNESSEE: “THE HOLY SPIRIT CAME AND TOOK CONTROL”

Lord we pray revival will break out across the U.S.

Revival is taking place in Tennessee as churches from various denominations have partnered together in prayer and fasting.

East Rogersville Baptist Church located in Rogersville has been the launching pad for this move of God.

It’s a part of Awaken Tennessee, the 30-day initiative for prayer and fasting, kicked off Jan. 26 and will run through Feb. 23.

Pastors are reporting their services are exploding with revival services as a result of the Holy Spirit showing up and taking over. . .

“3,100 Awaken Tennessee Prayer Packets have been distributed across East Tennessee to 220 churches who are joining in the 30 days of prayer and fasting. Another 800+ churches are joining from Middle and West Tennessee. That’s a total of over 1,000 churches in Tennessee fasting and praying in unity,” Livesay continued.

“Many churches are only giving one packet per family where both the husband and wife have committed to pray, which means well over 100,000 Tennesseans could be involved in prayer during February. Prayer is always the foundation for revival,” he added.

“This rally is not about our church or any particular denomination, but it is our effort to join the concentrated prayer effort across the state for true revival in our churches that precipitates an awakening in our communities, state, and nation,” Butler said when the initiative began. “There are exponential results as you bring multiplied groups together to pray.”

The Awaken Tennessee is a city-wide movement of prayer and fasting focused on unifying the church to strategically pray for and bless the city, one person at a time.

Dove Award-winning singer/songwriters Terry and Barbi Franklin came to Rogersville to lead worship services for the revival. As a result, the former members of the Gaither Vocal Band were also invited to lead worship for the follow-up services.

The church pastor described for the newspaper how this past Sunday how “The Holy Spirit came and took control.”

“From the first worship song, people began to flood the altar for prayer and continued to do so for restoration and to receive Christ. We haven’t manipulated our people. They came expectant and God simply showed up,” Butler said.

The Franklins say they will help as long as they are needed. It’s something that they’ve been praying about for many years.

We’ve been longing to see America’s churches become houses of prayer again and revived in their first love for Jesus,” the pair said.

John Avant, president of Life Action Ministries, told the paper he hasn’t seen an outpouring of the Holy Spirit like this since 1995 when a revival broke out simultaneously in five churches in Brownwood, Texas.

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Someone once wrote that “A church is never more like the New Testament church than when it is praying.” Worship is important. The teaching of God’s Word is crucial in every church. So is fellowship and evangelism. The Bible is also clear that every church must be committed to prayer. Colossians 4.2 says: “Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving.” Prayer is to be like breathing for the follower of Jesus!

Praying is a means from God to sustain us even in the darkest of times. Prayer is essential for the power and presence of God to be evident in our lives and the life of the church. If we do not pray, then we are essentially dead in the water. Often prayer is something we do after we have exhausted our own resources, but as Oswald Chambers wrote, “Jesus wants us to pray before we do anything at all.”

Jesus is our example of individual prayer. Luke 5.16 says that “Jesus would withdraw to desolate places and pray.” Not only are we to pray privately like Jesus, but we are to place an invested emphasis on praying together as a church Corporate prayer was an essential activity of the first church. D.A. Carson wrote, “Prayer meetings were the arteries of the early church. Through them, life-sustaining power was derived.” We absolutely must pray together—or God will certainly pass us by.

Charles Spurgeon wrote…

The condition of the church may be very accurately gauged by its prayer meetings. So is the prayer meeting a grace-ometer, and from it we may judge the amount of divine working among the people. If God be near a church, it must pray. And if He be not there, one of first tokens of His absence will be slothfulness in prayer!

~ Bryan

 

“Without the Spirit of God, we can do nothing. We are as ships without wind. We are useless.” – Charles Spurgeon

“I believe it is impossible for any Christian to be effective either in his life or in his service unless he is filled with the Holy Spirit who is God’s only provision for power.”– Henrietta C. Mears

Revivals and awakenings are times of great outpouring of God’s Spirit. By definition they are excessive. It is like Christmas. And while the idea is appealing, Christmas doesn’t happen every day. In fact, life would be quite bizarre, excessive, and unbalanced if it did.

If we attempt to make the excessive nature of revivals normative, it can lead to an imbalance in our life, our walk with God, and particularly our understanding of the Holy Spirit’s ministry in us. Historically, it has at times done all of these. So, to gain all of the spiritual blessings of praying for, anticipating, and experiencing revival, while eliminating the negative side-effects of extremism, we want to review what the Spirit-filled life is.

Believers Are All Indwelt by the Spirit

When you became a Christian, Christ indwelled you through the person of the Holy Spirit. I know neither the how nor the where, but I do know that the Holy Spirit’s indwelling presence carries with it the assurance of our salvation. “Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession” (Ephesians 1:13-14).

We are now God’s possession, and the Holy Spirit is, in effect, the down payment on His purchased property—that would be you. Like the idea expressed through the marriage ceremony, receiving Christ is a one-time decision. We don’t awake each morning to a fresh need to say, “I do”; once was enough. Having received Christ, we became children of God. “To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God” (John 1:12).

In theory, I could tell my parents that I no longer wished to be in their family, but I can never change the reality that I am their son. It’s an established fact on the basis of my birth. I can sever our fellowship but not our relationship. And as there was not one thing we did to earn our salvation, so there is nothing we can ever do to lose it—we are eternally Christ’s. But the Holy Spirit is more than simply an assurance of our salvation. It is through the Spirit that God enables and empowers us to live the Christian life.

The Spirit Comes to Glorify Christ

As we experience the blessings of the Spirit, we can lose sight of Jesus—and we never want to do that. We need to remember that the Spirit works in us to glorify Christ.

“When he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you” (John 16:13-14).

The Spirit-filled life is the Christ-centered, Christ- directed, life.

Walking with the Spirit

Walking is a process and not an event.1 This is how the event of revival can throw off our thinking concerning the Spirit- filled life. Clearly there are events, moments in time, when God empowers us in a special way; that’s what revival is. But the normative Christian life is predominantly a process, a walk. And the Spirit’s influence in our lives is typically not an overwhelming, overpowering presence but a more subtle influence. If we get an overpowering experience—Score! Icing on the cake! Christmas morning! It’s an additive, but not essential, blessing.

The normative Christian life is not an overpowering event but is daily seeking to do those things that increase the Spirit’s influence and decrease the hindrances to that influence. So how, exactly, does the Holy Spirit exert control and influence over our lives, and what is our role in the process? Perhaps the most helpful passage in Scripture for answering these questions is this one in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians:

Be very careful … how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-20)

One is compelled to ask, “What does getting drunk on wine have to do with being filled with the Spirit?” Well, obviously they are opposite alternatives, but they must share some base of similarity, or else why couple them together? The link between them, or the similarity they share, is in the idea of influence. They are both foreign entities that, when internalized, influence our behavior.

In fact, this is not the only time Scripture places them side by side. In the coming of the Holy Spirit, it was suspected that the Spirit-filled believers “had too much wine” (Acts 2:13), because of the similarity of influence.

Of course, there are many important differences between alcohol and the Holy Spirit. Alcohol’s influence leads to greater enslavement, while the Spirit gives great freedom. Alcohol eclipses our personality, while the Spirit reanimates it. And Satan uses alcohol to control us as God controls us through the Spirit. Still, alcohol provides an example of a foreign influence (albeit a bad one) that can affect our will and behavior.

As demonstrated by alcohol, control is always a question of degrees. There are things we can do that hinder the Spirit’s influence and things we can do to increase sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading. This is at the heart of walking in step—or being filled—with the Spirit. (The word “filled” means filled like a sail, not filled like a cup. When we think about the sail metaphor, we rightly think about adjusting ourselves to catch the existing wind of the Spirit. When we think about filling a cup, we wrongly think about increasing the amount of the Spirit like pouring in more of a drink.)

So, what constitutes the Spirit-filled life? What leads to the Spirit having maximum influence over our lives? This is not comprehensive, but what follow are the primary vehicles affecting the Spirit’s influence upon our thoughts, heart, will, and emotions.

Lordship

How does one become more drunk? (Or should I say drunkerer?)

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“The local church serves as a greenhouse where our prayers thrive. The local church creates the ideal environment for us to maximize the benefits of prayer while mitigating the dangers of selfishness and pride…”

~ John OnwuchewaPrayer62.

“What is the American church known for? I think people might say we’re known for great programs, effective small groups, excellent resources, or good adminstration. Most people probably wouldn’t think of the American church as being known for dynamic prayer.”  

~ Cheryl Sacks, The Prayer Saturated Church19.

The Prayer-Saturated Church: A Comprehensive Handbook for Prayer Leaders (Prayer Tools CD included)  -     By: Cheryl Sacks

“When Jesus built the church, he built a praying congregation.”

~ Armin Gesswein

“if prayer clings to the hope we share in Christ, then prayer should reflect our togetherness in Christ. If prayer has a gospel shape, then by implication it must have a church shape.”

~ John OnwuchewaPrayer, 37.

The event that has become known as the Great Awakening actually began years earlier in the 1720s. And, although the most significant years were from 1740-1742, the revival continued until the 1760s.
What was the Great Awakening? Know the Facts & Summary

Many of the early Puritans and pilgrims arrived in America with a fervent faith and vision for establishing a godly nation. Within a century the ardor had cooled. The children of the original immigrants were more concerned with increasing wealth and comfortable living than furthering the Kingdom of God. The same spiritual malaise could be found throughout the American colonies. The philosophical rationalism of the Enlightenment was spreading its influence among the educated classes; others were preoccupied with the things of this world.

When Theodore Frelinghuysen, a minister of the Dutch Reformed Church, came to begin his pastoral world in New Jersey during the 1720’s, he was shocked by the deadness of the churches in America. He preached the need for conversion, a profound, life-changing commitment to Christ, not simply perfunctory participation in religious duties. Presbyterian Gilbert Tennent was heavily influenced by Frelinghuysen and brought revival to his denomination. Tennent believed the deadness of the churches was in part due to so many pastors having never been converted themselves. His book On the Dangers of an Unconverted Ministry caused quite a stir!

Origins of the Great Awakening

The event that has become known as the Great Awakening actually began years earlier in the 1720s. And, although the most significant years were from 1740-1742, the revival continued until the 1760s.

Many of the early colonists had come to the new world to enjoy religious freedom, but as the land became tamed and prosperous they no longer relied on God for their daily bread. Wealth brought complacency toward God. As a result, church membership dropped. Wishing to make it easier to increase church attendance, the religious leaders had instituted the Halfway Covenant, which allowed membership without a public testimony of conversion. The churches were now attended largely by people who lacked a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Sadly, many of the ministers themselves did not know Christ and therefore could not lead their flocks to the true Shepherd. Then, suddenly, the Spirit of God awoke as though from an intense slumber and began to touch the population of the colonies. People from all walks of life, from poor farmers to rich merchants, began experiencing renewal and rebirth.

The faith and prayers of the righteous leaders were the foundation of the Great Awakening. Before a meeting, George Whitefield would spend hours–and sometimes all night–bathing an event in prayers. Fervent church members kept the fires of revival going through their genuine petitions for God’s intervention in the lives of their communities.

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His Kingdom or My Comfort Praying?

by Jon Graf

Longtime Presbyterian minister, Dr. Wilbur Chapman (early 1900s) was 26 when called to be pastor of Wanamakers Church in Philadelphia. His first Sunday, an old gentleman came up to him and said, “you’re much too young to be the pastor of such a fine church as this.” Chapman thought the guy was a kook. But the gentleman went on to tell him that he had decided to pray for him, that the Holy Spirit’s power would fall on him each time he stepped into the pulpit. And he had another man who would pray with him.

Chapman report that those two men soon turned into 10, the 20, then 50, and finally more than 200 men who gathered each Sunday morning before services and pray for the Holy Spirit’s enablement. Over the next three years the church saw 1,100 people come into the kingdom—more than 600 of them men.

Somewhere along the line churches have lost sight of what they should be praying for! Today, most churches’ prayers are almost exclusively for needs within the body. Prayers that each person’s life would get back to normal. Seldom are there prayers that cry out for the fullness of Jesus Christ to come upon a body, for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit onto a church…

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“This is our problem–and it seems many churches simply don’t realize how little they pray together, or how little their prayers reflect the bigheartedness of God.” pray more. Not rocket science, I know.”

~ John OnwuchewaPrayer, 14.

April 2020
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