Are you for Revival?

November 9, 2015

Many of us say we want revival, but I do wonder…

The realities of revival are far too costly for many of us, because the cost is borne primarily by our flesh. But this is exactly what God is looking for, our willingness to kill our flesh… Crucify it.

Revival means the breaking up of pride in our hearts. This is a deep and painful work God does in us. Without this breaking we are of little use to God.

Revival is incredibly humbling and everything in our flesh fights humility.

Revival forces our complete dependence on God. We don’t like to admit to our insufficiencies. Our utter abasement is too much to face because we like to look at our worldly successes as if they have spiritual value. They don’t. Same with our church-world successes. We like to think they make us a church-world somebody. They don’t. Revival forces the truth that Jesus is the only Somebody.

Revival shows our mistaken tendency toward comparison with others; our self-worthiness.

Revival is messy and out of our control, it’s not cool, and we can face persecution when it comes. So instead we control, we keep things orderly, we force conformity, and we call it excellence.

Revival is work.

Revival removes man from the center as glory is rightly reassigned to God.

In times of revival hierarchies come tumbling down. Titles, position, and prestige are all beautifully swept away. But too many of us love our titles, position, and prestige, to allow God to overwhelm us and sweep that junk away. Oh, how we grieve and limit the Holy Spirit…

Revival praying is too much work for us because revival praying withers all that is flesh. It’s easier not to pray and even easier to make excuses for the lack of prayer, than to really allow God to have His way…

So, I’ll ask again, Are you for revival?

I am. It is the only thing that will change our churches and cities and nations. Look around, we desperately need it.

Not So Humble Wifey Brag

November 5, 2015

Twenty years ago when I met Clayton he was a pro athlete. I had no idea back then of his capacity to endure pain and what this meant in terms of pushing his body to its physical limits. This capacity for pain is what put him at the top and made him an elite athlete. I was young and in love and naive and I didn’t understand it, so I didn’t appreciate it.

Now we’ve been married 17 years, have moved countries, have 3 kids, 3 dogs, a mortgage, somewhat health insurance, and have been serving the Lord together, I see his capacity for pain as an enormous strength.

Clayton’s capacity to endure pain is not just physical, it’s emotional, it’s mental–it’s dogged grit. This is where I’ve been so surprised. I marvel, actually. His huge capacity for pain has meant he has a huge capacity to patiently endure long and very well.

Over the years in spite of setbacks, relational pain, letdown, when others didn’t understand, have taken for granted, haven’t valued, and when some have even dishonored, his capacity for self-sacrifice, to love and serve others with undying loyalty has me falling more deeply in love with him everyday.

Where some try to prove their strength or manliness outwardly, Clayton doesn’t even think in terms of impressing others. He’s just too busy serving others.

He possesses a rare indomitable internal strength. This strength comes from God. God wired him but my husband also chooses again and again to yield to the will of God–no matter the pain or sacrifice. And because of this obedience he possesses the strength and security of heaven. He has nothing to prove to man because heaven has proved him.

Capacity is a funny thing. To have the capacity for great strength we must have the capacity in the other direction for great pain. Without pain we never make gains in our capacity for strength. This is a known biological law in our physical body. Less obvious is how true this is where it concerns our faith-life, our emotions, our thinking and heart responses to God.

To greatly love and humbly serve others we must have the capacity in the other direction to suffer great relational pain, a dying to self. Without pain, and the right responses to the pain, we never grow our capacity to love and serve.

I have watched my husband have the right responses for 20 years, when in the natural it hasn’t made sense, and then watched as God has built into him a capacity and a strength that is almost absurd. He loves, he serves, he gives to the point where it seems illogical, with matchless integrity.

God has made Clayton, the father of our kids, into a true spiritual father in a church-world that is orphaned and desperately needs men who will yield everything to God, no matter the cost, to get the strength of God to father a generation.

Martin LutherOn this day, October 31, 1517, Martin Luther sent a letter to his bishop which contained his Ninety-Five Theses. It began what we know as The Reformation.

Luther wasn’t necessarily trying to initiate reformation. There wasn’t even context for a reformation. What after all is reformation?

But Luther’s words had an effect we still feel today. Luther said, “I simply taught, preached, and wrote God’s Word; otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept…the Word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”

Luther may as well have just said, “Jesus did it all.” Jesus is the Word!

The Reformation liberated multiplied thousands from a false reverence for human authority. It liberated them from a life of trying to earn salvation and the favor of the Church.

Luther kept preaching salvation through faith in Jesus, freedom through faith in Jesus and that Jesus is the One who is central in the Church; never man. “He [Christ] died for me. He made His righteousness mine and made my sin His own; and if He made my sin His own, then I do not have it, and I am free.” And therefore, Jesus is the only One to be lifted up.

The Church had been teaching, money can earn salvation, special places of honor, favor, etc. Luther, in stark opposition, brought to light the great truth that we cannot pay our way to salvation, “Is it not wonderful news… salvation lies outside ourselves?”

Salvation lies in the Person of Jesus. And the only thing we can do is place ourselves in the position of receiving what Jesus has done for us by believing in His Name.

It is Jesus, only Jesus. It always has been Jesus and always will be Jesus.