Catching the Fire of Revival – Part III

Today is the second day that I have been praying for a revival to break out in Canada. Far-fetched, you think? It’s not as unrealistic of a prayer as you realize.

In 1904, a revival took place in Wales. A man named Evan Roberts had prayed for ten years that the people of Wales would come to know Jesus, and even when years went by and there were no results, he kept praying for his country, because why not?

When the revival broke out, it was characterized by prayer, praise, joy and victory, as the people of Wales re-discovered the Holy Spirit. In six months 100,000 people came to Jesus. Yes, I did say 100,000, not 100, or 1000, but ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND people of Wales came to know Jesus as their savior and dedicated their lives to living for His Kingdom.

Evan Roberts, just a man who prayed for his country.

At any point Evan Roberts could have deemed his prayers useless or bent to the lie that his country was not going to turn from their beliefs and come home to their Father. But every day, he prayed, no matter how he felt. And 100,000 people was the prize for not giving up.

When I learn about things like this, my immediate thought is, I want that for Canada! But then I think about it more and I say to myself, “Well, Canada is a lot bigger than Wales. And with all the different cultures, there are so many language barriers. And these days our government doesn’t care a whole lot about God. Our situation is much different, it’s unlikely that a revival would happen here.”

Wrong. All wrong. Actually, this is EXACTLY where a revival should happen.

If you have read any of my past Catching the Fire of Revival posts, you already know that a revival doesn’t take place on “green grass” or in an area that already has it all together. A revival needs something to revive. A revival occurs so that the dead grass comes back to life. When the people in the grittiest battles finally decide to lay down their weapons and surrender. A revival comes when things are not all good.

All over this country I have heard of churches closing down, denominations dying out, schools that once thrived in sharing the love of Jesus becoming a place where the name of Jesus is only used as a cuss word, and Christians everywhere battling depression, disunity, and destroyed relationships in their own homes and families. But this is not God’s plan for this country. It is never God’s wish that His people live under a cloud, depressed and quiet. My prayer is that this revival happens first with the Christians laying down their battle uniforms and no longer picking sides, and coming together as one congregation under God’s leading, and getting on their knees in a quiet place instead of raising their voices in public. I don’t believe that a revival happens where there isn’t first surrender, and confession. As a result of personal cleansing, love pours out from all the people involved, spilling out into their atmosphere, affecting those in their circles and communities, drawing in crowds and changing other hearts.

(And trust me, our Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has more of a history of encountering the Holy Spirit in his own life than you think. Pray that he remembers those moments from his past.)

Let’s just be real for a moment. I can think of many much more strenuous things I would do in order to see a revival come to this country, and see thousands come to know the Lord, than pray for my country for a couple of years. That seems like a no-brainer to me. All I’m asking is that you would pray with me, whenever you remember. Put a post-it note on your mirror in the bathroom so that you remember to say a thirty-second prayer in the morning while you get ready for your day.

This is not a long blog post, and I know I haven’t written for a while, but this is present on my heart and totally applicable to what the Lord is doing right now. In my former Catching the Fire of Revival posts, I have referenced the book The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, and I have based the previous posts on that incredible little book. I still recommend that you read this book if you want to know what revival is and how to get it in your heart. And trust me, it’s not a “bad time” for you, nor are you “not in the right head space” to experience a revival. It really doesn’t matter if you haven’t talked to God in a while either.

Thank you, God, that your love is unconditional. We suck.

As I have said before, God is on the move. Let’s get in on the action.

Catching the Fire of Revival Part I
Catching the Fire of Revival Part II

Catching the Fire of Revival: Part II

CATCHING THE FIRE P2

I wrote Part I of this series back in October of 2014…legit. But recently God started to stir this in my heart again, encouraging me to add another building block to this series. Maybe one day these stacked building blocks will start to look like a house. Or even better, a church.

The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, is a little book that dates back to 1950 when it was first published. To learn more about this little gem-of-a-book, venture back the first post: CATCHING THE FIRE OF REVIVAL: PART I

As a recap, Part I is about brokenness, or to be more specific, recognizing our sin and admitting it, instead of trying to justify it to others, to ourselves, and even to God, because only when we can acknowledge where we have failed will God come in and take over to do the things we cannot.

I didn’t think I would come back to this series, mostly because the thought of a revival, which once sprung a well of excitement within me, now just makes me feel tired. I’m not entirely sure why, but I recognize that if God wants me to come back to this, then I must first recognize that I am in the wrong and He is not. So okay then. Let’s do this.

This post will be on Chapter 2 of The Calvary Road, a book about sparking a revival, firstly in our own hearts, then in our homes, and then beyond.

My buddy Roy Hession calls this Chapter “Cups Running Over”. And its about just that – the realization that all we have to do is to present our empty, broken self and let Him fill us, and keep us filled. When God finds us empty, in the same way that water trickles down into every crevice and crack, His glory and power flow in. As He passes by us in all of His grace and glory, He looks into our cup. And if it is clean, He fills it to overflowing with the Water of Life.

Something you should know, is that Jesus is always passing by. And your cup can always be running over. A revival is having the constant peace of God ruling in our hearts, simply because we are full to overflowing. And when we are overflowing we share it with others, sometimes even without our knowledge. Our mere presence when our cup is overflowing can change the atmosphere around us, because of what Jesus is doing.

People are under the ridiculous delusion that dying to ourselves will instantly make us miserable. What a lie from hell. Because it’s exactly the opposite – its the refusal to die to ourselves (dying to what the body wants, holding onto the sin) that makes us miserable.

Jesus, alive in us, will overflow through us to lost souls as true concern for their salvation comes over us, along with the passionate desire for our fellow Christians to receive blessing. How amazing is that? Sometimes I feel like most of the time I don’t really feel anything at all. There are days that I wonder if there is something wrong with me because I don’t feel such a deep concern for all others the way certain people around me do. Am I a bad person? Sometimes it seems so. But it makes so much more sense when Jesus gets involved. People are driven to compassion by His spirit alive in us. We change, becoming so much better, when He is involved.

Gimme some-a-that, please.

There is only one thing that prevents Jesus from filling our cup as He passes by. And this is sin, which comes in a thousand forms. Jesus doesn’t fill dirty cups. Sometimes we like to sugar coat things when ministering to others and avoid the reality that their sin is wrong, just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. But we aren’t doing these people any favours by trying to justify their sin for them. That’s no different than us trying to justify our own sin to ourselves.

The truth is that anything that springs from “self”, regardless of how small it is, is sin. Self-pity during trials or hard times, unfortunately is sin. As is sensitiveness, touchiness, resentment, and self-defense when we are hurt by others, self-consciousness, worry, fear…these all spring from “self” and make our cups unclean. This is difficult to study for most of us, me included, because we’ve all done these, probably even recently. Personally I’ve caved to self-pity many times when I’ve been hurt. But it’s not from the Lord.

The nice part is that Jesus shrank all of these sins already and in a magical puff! they disappeared, the day He died on Calvary. The devil isn’t able to hold these things against us when we are cleansed. And if we will allow Jesus to show us what is in our cups, and then give those dirty things to Him, He will cleanse them in the precious blood of Jesus. The blood of Jesus isn’t a thing of a past, its still here, in power, for our use, flowing to cleanse us of all the sins we give Him. And as He cleanses our cups, He fills them to overflowing with His Holy Spirit.

Thankfully, for our sake, the blood is able to perform the same action day after day if need be. And we do need this, because we are as terribly imperfect as ever. Say you are filled one day to overflowing, and then something comes along that really nips at your skin – a touch of anger, or envy, or the need for control. Your cup then ceases to overflow. And if we are constantly being defeated this way, then unfortunately our cup is never overflowing.

However, if we are to experience continuous revival, we need to learn how to keep our cups clean. It’s never God’s will that a revival should stop. But if we go back to Calvary and learn afresh the power of the blood of Jesus, and confess every sin going back right to the start, then we have already learned the secret. Our cups will be constantly cleansed, and therefore constantly overflowing.

In other words, the moment you experience that envy, or criticism, or find yourself irritable, ask Jesus to cover it with His precious blood so you can be cleansed. Your reaction will change, and your peace will be restored. And the more you trust the blood of Jesus to fulfill this, the less you will even have these reactions in the first place.

For example, let’s say you or I are irritated by someone’s “personality” so to speak. It’s not enough to just take our reactions of irritation to Calvary. We must yield to God by accepting that person and his or her ways as being God’s will for us. Then we can be cleansed of our wrongful reaction. And let’s not keep mourning over it, but let’s look up to our victorious Jesus and praise Him for having victory in every situation.

Colossians 3:15 says, “Let the peace of God rule in your hearts.” Everything that disturbs the peace of God is sin, no matter how small it is. This peace is supposed to rule our hearts. So when we sense that our peace has been disturbed, we should immediately stop, ask God to show us what is wrong, and then cover it in the blood of Jesus. Our peace will be restored and our cup can continue to run over. However, if this happens and God doesn’t restore peace to us, then its because we’re not really broken. Maybe there is someone we need to say “sorry” to, or something we need to make right. Maybe we still feel it’s the other person’s fault. But if our peace is gone, it should be obvious whose fault it is. We don’t lose our peace with God over another person’s sin.

Many times a day we need to avail ourselves of the cleansing blood of Jesus, because unfortunately its not a one time deal. We aren’t perfect, so we will need constant cleansing. But when we make this our lifestyle, we will be walking in brokenness as never before and Jesus will be manifested in all His power and grace in that brokenness.

Some, however, have neglected the Holy Spirit’s conviction for so long that we no longer sense it. After such a long time we start to feel we have little need of cleansing or being broken. When we are in this condition, we are in a worse state than we can imagine. It will take great hunger for fellowship with God to be restored. I’ve been in this place, and I hated every minute of it. But I know what it’s like, like so many others who have been there. All we can do when we find ourselves here is cry out to God to show us where the blood of Jesus needs to be applied. He will show us too, usually starting with just one thing, and it will be our obedience and willingness to be broken on that one thing that will be the first step into revival.

May your cupeth overfloweth-eth-eth-eth, and so many more eths, to overflowing.

 

Catching the Fire of Revival: Part I

CATCHING THE FIRE P1We make it soooo hard. But Revival is actually quite simple. It’s the life and glory of God pouring out into our mere human hearts.

I’m reading through the book The Calvary Road by Roy Hession, though I’ve read it a couple of times before. If I had a better memory and didn’t constantly forget to, I would read through this book every year. There are many reasons why I like this book, the first being, shamefully, that it’s so short. I can whip through it in well under two hours. Yeah I probably look pretty lazy to some of you out there, but I’ll be honest, that’s my kind of book.

This tiny purse-perfect sized book isn’t expensive either. I think you can buy it new for under $4 online in a few places, and I recently found it downloadable for free on Kobo so I can carry it with me all the time on my phone. This blog post is only going to be on the first chapter, and if my atrocious memory doesn’t get the better of me I want to post more on the incredible power that is in this book as I go through it. I’m hoping this short blog series will inspire many to engage into sparking a revival, starting in our own hearts and in our homes and then reaching those around us with healing and miracles.

Also…this is an older book and the way Roy Hession writes sometimes sounds a bit dated, but everything he speaks on is like experiencing the breath of God wash over, restoring and reviving. Just good life-changing stuff.

First things first: Us vs. Him.

We are inconceivably weak and shamefully smeared by mistakes and incapability. This is unfortunately true, though we love to deny it. We pull the “Look at me, I’m perfect” card a lot. Too much. In fact, we should probably be embarrassed about how much we play that card.

In Heaven they are always praising God for His victory because He is always victorious. Thankfully, He succeeds where we fail. And if we can’t recognize that we fail, then we need a reality check (and we won’t see revival until we realize where we fail/have failed/are currently failing). We all have weaknesses and limits. Tons. But His power is boundless.

This is the first key to revival; recognizing our weakness and His power. But it’s not just this, it’s becoming broken, because brokenness is the stage-setting for a revival. You can’t revive what isn’t broken. (What an epiphany). Revival isn’t making green grass greener, it’s taking the dead dry bones and bringing them back to life. So stop focusing on how green your ‘lawn’ is and expecting God to reward you for how pretty you’ve made it look. He wants you to confess that underneath the green everything is dead and you can’t fix it without Him.

It’s sort of like ‘rolling out the red carpet’ for the party, except that you’re not rolling out a red carpet at all. Your carpet is filthy. It’s gross and people might scowl at it. But unless you’re willing to roll out your sludge-filled carpet and expose the truth about yourself, you’re not giving Jesus anywhere to set His feet.

The proud self within us needs to be broken. And being broken is painful and humiliating, and usually it means others get to see our flaws. It means that people are going to get let in on the secret that we aren’t perfect. It means that the hard unyielding self needs to melt, relinquish control. The self who justifies itself, wants its own way, stands up for its rights, and seek its own glory finally bows it’s head to God’s will, admits it is wrong, stops trying to make its own way to Jesus, surrenders it’s “rights” and surrenders the chase for its own glory. It means we die to ourselves and our attitude. It means we let Jesus fill our “self” and choose His way instead.

My boy Roy Hession explains this very well in Chapter 1.

It is this dangerous, spirit-hindering self who gets irritable and worried. It’s the “self” that is hard and unyielding in our attitudes, especially towards others. And we always read these sorts of things and instantly think of others who are like this – not us. Am I right? No wonder we need breaking.

Are we truly wanting a revival? Or are we just searching for some fun and wild experiences? Because in order for a revival to occur there needs to be a breaking first. A time of repentance. A time of recognition. A time of being truthful, vulnerable and willing to let others see our flaws. Don’t be too proud to take this step, as it is the most important in lighting up a revival. But pride can be such a revival-killer. And if we are willing to surrender and become vulnerable, admit our mistakes, look like a fool even, whatever, then this can also be the cause for many restored relationships.

This isn’t just a one time thing either. We need to be re-broken constantly, probably daily, as we continue to lay down the part of ourselves that thinks we know best and accept that God knows better and is willing to redeem us. When we stiffen our necks and refuse to repent or acknowledge our behavior it hurts Him deeply; this is because He knows how much our stubbornness is hurting us and how much better off we would be if we just let it go.

He cares about us. More than we know.

But this means that we are going to have to reserve ourselves, we can’t necessarily speak every time we want to, and sometimes we won’t get our own way. Instead we must choose to believe that we don’t know best. Most of us have these habits that are hard to break. But God knows best. He just does. The sooner we can let this sink in the better.

Jesus is our prime example. His willingness to be broken, publicly, and strung up on a cross in our place should be motivation enough. He, rather than taking the prize of elevating himself on the same level as God (which He was), humbled himself as a servant and let himself become shamefully exposed and brutally killed; the most unfathomable act of selflessness. He let men gawk at him. Spit on him. He didn’t retaliate or defend himself. He chose to have no rights of his own. He did this knowing that it would give us the right to be redeemed, should we so chose it. Our slime and selfishness was what he took on. Maybe we should stop being so proud of the image of perfection we have created for others to see and try harder to be proud to know the King who let himself be ridiculed in our place.

The Sermon on the Mount teaches of non-retaliation, love for enemies, and selfless giving. He also acted this out as an example. These weren’t just empty words, these were the words of life-giving power, the power to revive people, churches, cities, nations.

All day long the choice will be before us. My way or His way. All day. But it’s always our choice.

This means a constant yielding to those around us, even if they humiliate us, are mean to us, publicly define themselves as our enemies, try to control us, whatever. Wow, that’s hard. I don’t particularly enjoy being in the company of people with the “My way or the highway” attitude. I sort of want to hoof them in the face most of the time. But you will constantly run into people like this, heck, sometimes you might be this person without realizing it. But I guarantee that people who rub you the wrong way will be everywhere you go, even in the places where we are supposed to feel safe. Even in our own families. Or our circle of trusted friends. And God wants us to trust that He will redeem us (in other words, we can stop trying desperately to redeem ourselves or salvage our own reputation). He loves justice. He’s going to keep His eye on things and lift up the pure in heart. We need to be willing to actually let Him do it though, on His timing, instead of trying to fix the problems our way. Trust, trust, trust. He is bigger than even the loudest, meanest, most controlling person you know. He’s bigger and far more powerful and influential than your boss. Than your overbearing family member. Whatever it is. He’s more powerful and He certainly doesn’t need our help to turn the tables. We don’t have the power, we will just make it worse by taking action on our own, because we are pathetic, and quite frankly, not very smart in comparison to Him. Which brings me back to the most significant point:

It starts with recognition: We are scum. We are sinners. We aren’t perfect. We don’t always get it right. The sin we are trying to hide away in the closet is starting to smell like garbage and stink up the house. God is perfect though, and He is all powerful. He is the champion of Heaven. Conqueror of earthly problems. He will succeed where we are not strong enough. But we are not going to get it right without Him.

Secondly, we need to confess our stuff (take your time on this one and feel free to say out loud to God whichever ones are yours, or add your own sins to this list): I have a hard time letting God take control. I often think I know best and try to do things by my own strength. I’m bad at being patient and trusting that God’s timing is perfect. I get offended easily. I stand my ground and when I should let God fight my battles. There are people close to me that I really don’t like. I am proud. I want others to see me as being successful, without flaws. I want to have a following (or I want people to praise me). I feel the need to be right in every argument (or I am fighting with someone, and deep down I know that I’m actually wrong but I’m too embarrassed to admit I’m wrong in fear of what others will think), I have a hard time admitting my mistakes. I always justify my actions, even when they might be wrong. I gossip. I steal. I’m an adulterer. I sleep around. I lie. I’m a closet alcoholic. I lust. I lash out at others. I secretly orchestrate painful situations for the people I don’t like. I’m a bully. I try to pit people against each other. Other stuff.

All of these sins are equal to Him, by the way. So don’t assume that yours is the worst one.

Whatever it is, just take responsibility for it. Admit it and be set free from it so it can stop having power over you. And you may need to apologize to some others, but admit it to God first. Trust me, He doesn’t care that you did it, only that you admit it and stop trying to justify it (to Him, to others, and to yourself).

Ah, freedom. Finally, we will experience freedom like never before and the stage will be set for the oncoming release of His glorious Spirit and earth-shaking power. I don’t know about you, but I want some of that.

STEP 1: Prepare to be broken. Let yourself look a little foolish for a change. Hallelujah.

 

CATCHING THE FIRE OF REVIVAL: PART II