Ministerial Meanderings

God centered theology in a man centered world.

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Location: Springfield, Missouri, United States

I was born in Washington D.C. and raised in Laurel, Maryland. I served in the United States Air Force for 20 years then retired. Then God led me to become a pastor. I was converted to Christ in the summer of 1966. I enjoy the company of my wife, children and grandchildren. I live with my three cats Hobbs, Taz, and Chloe.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lest We Forget

In America we have the best resources available for being a Christian. Between churches, libraries, seminaries, universities and the Internet, we have the very best collection of materials and resources available to us. More than any other people at any time in history. We have the freedom to worship ... to teach any doctrine ... or no doctrine if we want. We can blast our government from our pulpits and disagree with any policy or law that we don't like. We can do all that and not be threatened with arrest, or closure, or torture or deportation. We are free Americans. We can worship when, where, and how we want ... if we want .. with whomever we want. We can worship our God or no god.

Let me focus specifically on Christians. We have every freedom and every resource in history available to us for our worship. But lest we forget .. there are those in the world who do not enjoy our freedoms. I was thinking the other day about a program I heard about from Voice of the Martyrs ( ). It was called the Student Underground. It was a youth thing. But the idea of it was to take a group of young people into a closed environment for a couple of days. During that time various members of the group would be "arrested" and "interrogated" by the "authorities" (played by off duty security guards or police officers). I was reminded as I thought about this about those brothers and sisters in Jesus for whom it was not a game or a youth activity.

There are Christians in the world who today will be beaten, tortured, raped, burned, displaced, made homeless, imprisoned, or even killed for the gospel witness. It is no game to them. They live or die for Jesus every single minute of every single day.

We easily get complacent in the United States with our Christianity. And it is easy to forget those who suffer horribly for Jesus. Join me in daily prayer for those who live for Jesus in places where it is hard to live for Jesus. From where we sit, it seems like the very least we can do ... lest we forget.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

A People Saturated With God

It is common, every once in a while, to hear talk of revival coming to this place or that. Currently, there is a supposed revival going on somewhere in Florida. In years past, it has been in Toronto, Pensacola, Smithville (Kansas) and elsewhere. Always there are strange "miracles" associated with these so called revivals. Claims of healings, gold dust falling from the ceiling, tooth fillings changing into gold, and other such happenings are reported. And everywhere these things happen, people pay big money to go there. They are hungry for something real from God and so they are desperate to touch anything that might be a real world manifestation of God's power.

In was reminded, in a powerful sermon by R.C. Sproul, that anywhere the word of God is opened, faithfully preached, believed on and acted on ... then there is the power of God. Paul said the gospel was the power of God unto salvation. Anywhere where the word of God is preached is a place where you can see and touch God's power.

But that being true, there are times in history when the glory of God seems to manifest itself in a particular place in an unusual degree of power. We call these times revival. But unlike the modern "revivals" there are certain characteristics that accompany true revivals.

One is biblical preaching. No place has ever experienced a revival without having biblical preaching. And the kind of preaching that God has used in revival has been solid, exegetical, expository preaching. Line by line and verse by verse.

Another characteristic of revival is a renewal of prayer .. I mean real grappling with God prayer.

In fact, revival has been described as the usual operations of God to an unusual degree. There are sermons, but now .. O! how they cut to the soul and bring you close to Christ! There is singing ... O! but the heart in song does touch the heavenly realm! There is prayer ... but O! the grasping hold of God till the blessing comes! There is repentance and confession. There is brokenness. There is real "coming to Jesus." There is evangelism ... there are missions ... there is charity, benevolence, mercy, forgiveness, love ... all the things associated with Christians, but to an extraordinary degree.

Richard Owen Roberts has said that in revival it is like you can reach out and touch God .. not that you CAN reach out and touch God .. but it is LIKE that.

Brian Edwards calls revival a "people saturated with God." His book by that title is worth everything you have to do to get to read it. It is out of print but some can still be found on Amazon dot com. The book is called "Revival! - A People Saturated With God." That is where I got the name for this post. God is everywhere. Once in Wales (a land that has been blessed by the special touch of God several times) a blacksmith wanted nothing to do with Christ or his revival. He packed up his stuff and went to camp in the hills above his village. But Christ met him in those hills and the drinking, cussing, womanizing, blacksmith came home radically converted to Christ! In revival, church services and prayer meetings can sometimes run for days. Again, Richard Owen Roberts points out "There is no time in revival."

The real test of a revival is not in what happens during the revival. These special moments can last for days, weeks, months, or years. But they always come to an end. But real revival leaves lasting fruit behind. The story of the blacksmith mentioned above was told by the blacksmith himself ... 40 years after the revival took place. He was still, after 40 years, radically in love with Jesus.

One final thing, revival is a sovereign work of God. Just because a person prays for revival does not mean God will grant it. However, let it be known that no revival came that was not bathed in and preceded by prayer. Revival came to a village once and it was discovered afterward that two elderly widows ... sisters ... had been praying daily for YEARS that revival would come to their village in their lifetimes. God lovingly answered their prayers.

When the Church realizes how far it has fallen from what it should be .. people begin to feel the need to pray to God to bring them back to what He intends for them to be. Those times can turn into times of revival. It has happened in times past, it can happen again. If God would be merciful to grant it. I will pray for it to come.