Incremental revival

It seems very strange when I talk to friends and encourage the church about revival, miracles and packed out auditoriums in Argentina, Brazil, Pensacola, Toronto, Sunderland and Lakeland, that I am speaking of events from the last century. Worse still, I was born then!

I’ve not seen “them come and go”, what I have seen is a constant ebb and flow of God’s extravagant interventions in Church life; leading us ever onwards into a deeper life of intimacy with Him. Whether or not we have chosen to respond is our decision.

I wonder what the next incoming-tide of God’s Spirit that will crash on the unsuspecting Church will look like. Let’s not kid ourselves with pseudo-prophetic insights, most of what God does takes us by surprise. One of the few exceptions to this is when Mary tells the servants at the wedding that notoriously had run out of wine, “whatever Jesus says, do it”. She knew.

Whatever God engages His Church with, it will carry the great redemptive encouragement of Paul’s letter to the Romans with it. Not just that for those in Christ there is unequivocally, zero-condemnation or that every single molecule and atom of God’s providence and sovereignty, is actively working together for good – our good; but that God’s great work has relationship and intimacy inextricably incorporated in the core of it. Whilst we call out for revival, God is calling us to a walk with Him that will endure. The hallmark that prophet John the baptiser was looking for, was one on whom, when the Spirit came like a dove, it would remain and not lift off. It’s a challenge to our pursuit of Him in Christ-likeness.

We’ve forgotten how to lead people to Christ! You can do it! You just ask!

We want revival. Absolutely, but we need desperately to put it in context. The book of Acts doesn’t speak of revival, but it does speak of an untangled, consistent and continual engagement of society with the gospel at every level. People telling others about Jesus. 3,000 coming to Christ at Pentecost was amazing, but that was the birth of the Church and it was accompanied with the gospel, leadership training, and theological explanation.

We are definitely not ashamed of the gospel – it’s the power of God unto salvation!

What is before us, is the invitation to a radical lifestyle of a pursuit of Christ where we live our lives as witnesses to the transforming, life-changing gospel of Jesus Christ. Witnessing with words, deeds, poetry, cakes, kindness, coffee and donuts and then asking them to begin that journey with Christ.

We’ve forgotten how to lead people to Christ! You can do it! You just ask!

The analogy is weak but it’s like taking a hungry person into your kitchen and showing them a great feast, asking them if they are hungry – and then telling them it will be available at church, you couldn’t possibly sit down and eat together because you are not a waiter or chef!

You can do it!  Tell the amazing story, step out in the gifts of the Spirit as you are led and see what God does with and through you! Many people think of revival as thousands coming to Christ as in China – but it is not revival, its friends telling friends about the love of God.

In that sense, it is incremental revival. The reason it is continuing in China and in the Middle East, is they are continuing to tell their story to whoever will listen. Making disciples is the real goal, and our part as real disciples is to tell what wonderful things the Lord has done for us.

Keep trusting the Lord – you’ll not be disappointed

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