Will Revival Come? Are We Condemned To Spiritual Medocrity?

I never cared much for coffee–until I was 38 years old. I don’t know why it took me so long to like it. I guess maturity finally struck. It still hasn’t struck my wife who says she doesn’t like the taste. I tell her, “You don’t drink coffee because it tastes good. You drink coffee because it IS good.”

Many tout the health benefits of coffee. According to Wikipedia: “The consensus in the medical community is that moderate regular coffee drinking in healthy individuals is either essentially benign or mildly beneficial.”

Famous Coffee Drinker–Garfield

Famous coffee drinkers like Garfield the cat laud its benefits. In one Garfield cartoon the fat cat begins to slurp his morning coffee. His master John asks him, “How’s the coffee?” And we see Garfield, eyes wide, wide open, a crazy smile on his face, his whiskers sticking out as he answers, “It gets the job done.”

My excuse for drinking coffee (among others) is that it helps my spiritual life. I used to find myself dozing off as I read my Bible in the morning. Now, I’m “boing, boing, boing.” (That’s the sound of someone jumping on springs, in case you wondered, not “boring, boring, boring” which is a word sometimes associated with preachers).

Is the Church Short On Coffee?

I’ve noticed that the Church might be a bit short of spiritual “coffee” these days. We need to wake up to God.

The Church faced a similar situation before the Civil War in the United States. “In the twelve years before the Third Great Awakening the religious life in America was on a decline, say J. Edwin Orr. “It was a time of prosperity, and people were seeking riches rather than God. The churches were losing people, and worldliness was creeping in.

“A number of Christians who had become concerned over the materialism that pervaded the land, and the fact that the young were growing up without God, began to pray that God would break the love of money over people’s lives and send another revival to the nation.

“’Concerts of Prayer’ began to spring up throughout the United States of America and Canada.  This materialism was broken in many lives by the Bank Panic of October 1857. (J. Edwin Orr)

Revival erupted in many places.

On March 20, 1858,  the New York Times reported on the revival:

“The great wave of religious excitement which is now sweeping over this nation, is one of the most remarkable movements since the Reformation . . . Travelers relate that on cars and steamboats, in banks and markets, everywhere through the interior, this matter is an absorbing topic. Churches are crowded; bank-directors’ rooms become oratories; school-houses are turned into chapels; converts are numbered by the scores of thousands.

“In this City, we have beheld a sight which not the most enthusiastic fanatic for church-observances could ever have hoped to look upon;–we have seen in a business quarter of the City, in the busiest hours, assemblies of merchants, clerks and working-men, to the number of some 5,000, gathered day after day for a simple and solemn worship. Similar assemblies we find in other portions of the City; a theatre is turned into a chapel; churches of all sects are open and crowded by day and night.”

The article continues: “It is most impressive to think that over this great land tens and fifties of thousands of men and women are putting to themselves at this time in a simple, serious way, the greatest question that can ever come before the human mind–‘What shall we do to be saved from sin?'”

(Hmmm, the New York Times must have changed editors since those days.)

A Million People Into the Kingdom?

Some estimate that at the height of the revival 50,000 people per week were coming to the Lord. In a two year period there may have been a million people who turned to the Lord Jesus. There were around thirty million people in the United States at the time.

The Church today looks a lot like the Church in that time, before the revival. I have the sense that there is a lot of outward religion and glitz, but are we hungering and thirsting after revival?

What can we do to experience a spiritual awakening?

God’s Part–Our Part

We probably need a wake-up call. That comes from God. But, with some of the crazy things that have been happening in our world recently, can we say that God is trying to get our attention?

From our side of the equation, we’re got to see the state we’re in. We’ve got to turn from our indifference and repent of our sin. We’re quick to point out the world’s sin, but the Bible says that judgement must begin in the house of God.

We need a heavenly hunger for God. We need a Spirit-inspired patience to “pester” the Lord until revival comes. We need a faith that believes God when He says:

“If I ever shut off the supply of rain from the skies or order the locusts to eat the crops or send a plague on my people, and my people, my God-defined people, respond by humbling themselves, praying, seeking my presence, and turning their backs on their wicked lives, I’ll be there ready for you: I’ll listen from heaven, forgive their sins, and restore their land to health.” (2 Chronicles 7:14)

We need  a spiritual jolt and it’s going to take more than coffee.

Putting it into practice :

What would a revival look like in your life? Write three changes that would happen.

What do you think you need to do to move towards revival?____________________________________

Hmmm …

“The kingdom of France is predestined by God to defend the Church of Christ Our Lord. This kingdom will be great among all the kingdoms of the earth. In as much as it is loyal to its calling, it will be victorious. If it proves unfaithful in this, it will be punished harshly. Nevertheless, it will remain until the end of time.”

-St. Remi at King Clovis’ baptism in 498.

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