Another Great Awakening

“I have heard the reports about You,
    and I am in awe when I consider all You have done.
O Eternal One, revive Your work in our lifetime;
    reveal it among us in our times.
As You unleash Your wrath, remember Your compassion” (Hab. 3:2).

I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in and amongst the American churches in general.

We’ve lost the uniqueness that made us different from everybody else. The salt has lost its saltiness and the light has been hidden under a bushel of tolerance.

We know that the Bible calls us to love everybody and we’ve mistakenly believed that loving people means accepting any and all of their behaviors and lifestyle choices. We take the admonition not to judge to mean that we can never ever call out a person’s sin, even when that sin will ultimately lead to their destruction.

We haven’t spoken the truth, and when we have, we haven’t spoken it in love.

We’ve toned down or eliminated from our vocabulary those words deemed offensive by the culture around us. Very rarely anymore will you hear about the wrath of God or hell or sin or any of those topics. We assume that love would never do that.

We’ve tried so hard to fit in and be relevant that we’re no longer recognizable as a separate entity. The love we teach and preach isn’t the Agape Love of the Bible, but a touchy-feely love that is more transient than transcendent.

There has been at least one great revival in every century of this nation. Maybe if enough of us decide that the status quo of nice religion and self-help style of morality no longer works, we will seek with tears and sighs another great revival and not rest praying for one until the fire falls from heaven again.

I know that too often I am apathetic when it comes to God. I also know that I am far from being alone in this. We’ve grown too accustomed to the things of God that we no longer hold them as sacred. We no longer meditate on the glory and holiness of God and we forget that He is the Holy Other, not a bigger, stronger, faster, smarter version of us.

I write this with fear and trembling, hoping to err on the side of grace yet knowing that the church can only blame herself for the state of the nation. I don’t claim to have all the answers or to have it all figured out. I do know that more than someone telling us that “I’m okay,  you’re okay,” we need someone telling us of our great need for repentance.

I do know that I need Jesus. I know that we all need Jesus, especially in these desperate times.



Another prayer from Henri Nouwen (with my own commentary added)

“I pray tonight for all who witness for you in this world: ministers, priests, and bishops, men and women who have dedicated their lives to you, and all those who try to bring the light of the Gospel into the darkness of this age. Give them courage, strength, perseverance, and hope; fill their hearts and minds with the knowledge of your presence, and let them experience your name as their refuge from all dangers. Most of all, give them the joy of your Spirit, so that wherever they go and whomever they meet they will remove the veil of depression, fatalism, and defeatism and will bring new life to the many who live in constant fear of death. Lord, be with all who bring the Good News. Amen.” (Henri Nouwen)

As the old saying goes (or maybe a new one that I just made up), when you can’t think of anything original, borrow and steal from smarter people than you. Actually, this prayer of Henri Nouwen’s is my prayer, said better than I could ever say it on my own, for my friends who are going out and making disciples of all nations, starting in Nashville and ending up in the uttermost parts of the earth. You inspire me to want to do a lot more than I’m doing right now.

Who knows what God has in store for me or you or anyone? I’ve learned that whatever it is, it’s usually way different than what we thought it would be, and way better. So go with it. Jesus calls us to die every day to our rights and desires and dreams and hopes, so that we can live in God’s greater dream for us. As Oswald Chambers wrote, “Trust God and do the next thing.”

As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.

Thoughts on prayer and healing

I was thinking today about Job’s situation and how it relates to mine (and possibly yours, too). In Job 42, God tells Job’s friends that they have slandered Job and misrepresented God. He tells them that Job will pray for them, and He will hear him and not deal with them as they deserve. Job prays for his friends, then God gives him back what he lost, doubled.

Job had to pray for those who wronged him before God restored him. Job had to forgive the ones who slandered him and his God. Is there some area of your life that needs healing and/or restoration? It could be that God is waiting for you to pray for the ones who hurt you in that area before he restores to you what you lost or heals you.

As much as I pray for God to forgive those who hurt me, that much will God forgive me (see the Lord’s prayer). As much as I pray for God to bless those who slander me, God will bless me. As much as I pray for the restoration and healing of those whose wounds I carry, God will restore and heal me.

This is me thinking out loud again. So take it for what it’s worth. As always, I believe. Help my unbelief.