Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Revival vs Crusade

I have grown up in the Baptist denomination my entire life, and have experienced my fair share of 'revival' services. I have been to tent revivals, church revivals, and revivals held in stadiums or auditoriums at schools. The message is generally the same, repent and turn to Jesus, and if not you are going to burn in hell. It's not that I disagree with this message, because I don't. I love to see people turn from a life of sin and turn to God. What bothers me is when we call these types of meetings 'revivals', when in reality they should be called crusades.

Revivals or being revived, by definition, is a regeneration or an awakening of something that has lost it's drive or life. So by definition, a revival is not for the lost, because when you don't have the spirit in you, it is impossible for that spirit to be revived. Again, I love to see people come to Christ, but the reason this is so bothersome for me, is because our church, the followers of Christ, in America needs to revived from its nostalgic, apathetic state. This is why if we are going to have a revival service, there needs to be an atmosphere of change and messages that encourage the reviving of the spirit that you claim resides in your soul.

We should however call these meetings what they are, crusades. Billy Graham is the first to come to mind when I hear this word. He held meetings, not with the intent that Christians would be revived, which many did, but that nonbelievers could come to know Jesus. His messages were convicting, speaking of hell verses heaven, salvation, and about Jesus. He didn't mix words, he let people know that he was there to invite them to know his Savior. So when you look at these 'crusades', they look very much like our modern day 'revivals'.

I just feel like there is a need for an awakening of the Spirit in the Church today. There is definitely a need for revival meetings, but not with the motivation to see people saved, but to see God's people turn back to Him and start living the life of a disciple of Jesus. Please don't miss my point, which is, revivals are for Christians and crusades are for non-Christians, not by my opinion, but simply by definition.

Our Church just wrapped up a four day revival, and we saw several come to know Christ. I praise God for those conversions, and I would love to see many more come to Him. What bothers me the most is, that in four days of a 'revival', there was not one believer that publicly confessed, or testified to any type of renewal of their spirit. So my question is, 'Did we experience a true revival?' The speaker of the revival was great, very dynamic and funny and he spoke the truth, but his message seemed to be focused on nonbelievers, more than it was focused on the reviving of the church.

Just some thoughts, not complaints. Just trying to flesh out exactly what this all means.

Any thoughts?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Full-time Ministry and Selling Tires

This morning, I got up early to go and get a new set of tires put on my car. I arrived at a tire store called, "One Way". I was curious of the name of the store, because I wondered what that had to do with tires. As drove into the parking lot, I noticed the sign that hung above the door. It had the name of course, but then below the name there were a couple of passages of Scriptures listed. I was now even more curious, that was until I was greeted by a middle-aged man at the door and he asked me if I new Jesus. His first question was not what kind of tires do you need, but he was more interested in my life. I told him I did and that I was pursuing ministry.

As I sat there waiting for my tires to be changed, I began to notice little verses displayed throughout the showroom. It was at this point that I began to rethink what I have always been taught about full-time ministry. You know, go to seminary to be a pastor, missionary, counselor, etc. Then I realized that we, those of us who choose to follow Christ, are all called into full-time ministry. Here is a man who sells tires and rims for a living, but he is much more concerned with his customers life than he is about selling a set of tires.

What would this world look like if all those who follow Christ developed this understanding? What if everyone from a doctor to a waitress would look at their jobs in this light? There would be a profound change in how people perceive us Christians, and maybe we would truly be able to make a difference. Can you imagine if the next time you visited a seminary, there would be a class entitled, "Sales Evangelism"? What would your reaction be?

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Old vs New

Today, I had the opportunity to hang out with several men from four different churches. The church I attend was the only one present that I would say has progressed from the old tradition to the new tradition. What I mean by this is simply the other three churches are still in the frame of mind where you have no organization whatsoever, and you allow the Holy Spirit to control what happens. On the other side you have our church that is organized down to the "t". Everything is scheduled, and there is never anyone standing around wondering what will happen next. So it was a little uncomfortable for me, because I like to know what is going on, and what is about to happen next.

The thing that I have been contemplating is should there be a balance and is either one right or wrong? The preaching was of the old fashion style, and I wasn't sure where the preacher was going with his message. I think I was the only one there that was a little confused, because everyone else was crying and shouting, and I was just standing there silent. It made me feel as though I just missed something. The text that was used didn't really make since to me, with the message that followed. The preacher seemed to be all over the page, talking about several different topics, and if I can be honest, I was totally lost.

After all of this, the one thing that moved me was the passion that some of the men expressed. My point here is, the old tradition style seems to be somewhat outdated for the majority of listeners, but the new tradition needs to take something from this old tradition, passion. It is important for us to find new innovated ways to engage our audience, but we must stay true to the Gospel and truly be compassionate about what we are doing.

My question still remains, which tradition is most relevant in todays culture, the old tradition or the new tradition?

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Must Read!

I just finished a book, that I wished I would have read a year ago before I actually started preaching. Andy Stanley, in my opinion, is one of the top five communicators in the nation, and he definitely does not disappoint with this book. Communicating for a Change, is a must read for any preacher, teacher, or any other communicator. The authors present a simplistic approach to the preparation process, which then changes and improves the delivery of the communicators talk. It is a small book, only 190 pages, but full of wisdom, so much so you can't put it down. I took about 15 pages of notes in my journal, and that was just hitting the main points, along with some thoughts of my own. The basic gist of the book, is pick one main point and build everything else around that point, and to set as your goal, life change. Incredible book, one that was like hitting a gold mine for me.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Totality of Satisfaction

C.S. Lewis defined a thirst for God as, "lacking an encounter with God, their souls are parched like a waterless countryside." We must look beyond our circumstances and see only God. It is then, and only then that we will experience the totality of satisfaction. One must remember, however, that it is not the one encounter that brings total satisfaction, for it only quenches the thirst temporarily, but it is a daily encounter with God that totally quenches the thirst.

This is the central point to my message tomorrow night, and I pray that it touches someone's life as it has mine.