Monday, April 11, 2016

WHY HAVE A REVIVAL?

That is question that appears to be coming from pastors all over the country.  As we get ready for our 2016 Spring "It's A Big Deal" Revival with David Burton from Jacksonville, I am more excited than ever about God using a fresh voice, with a fresh word, to stir our hearts, and bend our knees toward the Father.

April 13, 2016 will mark forty years since I gave my life to Christ... on a Tuesday night...in revival! God used a revival service and a guest evangelist who preached the word to speak to the heart of a fourteen year old church kid.  Revival means something to me and always will.

As a pastor now for twenty three years, we have had some great preachers come to the small town of Camden, Ohio.  Some full time evangelists, some pastors, some missionaries.  Pastor Mike Landry from Sarasota once told me, "You will never know if they will come unless you ask."  That has always stuck with me and I have tried to go after some of the best.  Often as a pastor, we are prone to ask a circle of friends, and sometimes the gifting of a certain pastor friend may not be a good fit for a revival in your church.

By attrition, churches have gone from week long, five services, four services, weekend, to a Sunday revival, then to not having one all together.  While a pastor and church has every right to schedule how they feel, have we gotten to the point where we think that revivals are not worth the time or effort?

Recently I heard of a pastor who  indicated that having a revival was too expensive.  Some claim their people won't come. Some say that a love offering will take away general giving of the church. Some say the lack of attendance was embarrassing to the pastor and church. Some simply don't want to bring in a speaker that their folks may enjoy more than them. Some argue that people are already strapped for time and adding something else just makes it harder. Could it be that revivals become a burden rather than a blessing because that is the way they are treated?  No preparation, no prayer, no excitement from the pulpit is sure to equal no expectation. God's grace still shows up in spite of ourselves.

We always see changed lives, and most of the time we will see people come to Christ.  Leonard Ravenhill has greatly challenged me recently with his heart for revival. "Why Revival Tarries" has become one of my all time favorite and challenging books.  God give me a heart to see you doing something that we cannot explain other than a mighty move of God!