Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. Romans 13:11
I’m looking forward to seeing what God might accomplish through our time of revival starting this Sunday (Aug. 29th). When I started pastoring in 2001, we had one or two revivals a year. Revival was a special time for the church as we often drew closer to the Lord, closer to one another, and was intentional about inviting lost friends to join us. I remember having “pack a pew” night where we would intentionally try to fill an entire pew with our friends and family. God seemed to do some special things at different times of revival. I’ve been blessed to be able to preach several revivals over the years and see God do some God-sized things in people’s lives.
Evangelist Billy Sunday was once asked, “When is a revival needed?” His response was, “When carelessness and unconcern keep the people asleep.” In general, there seems to be plenty of apathy in churches today. I think the enemy loves for us to stay super busy, be consumed with technology and social media, and give little thought to worshipping our Lord Jesus and sharing the gospel with others. Vance Havner defined revival as “the church falling in love with Jesus Christ all over again.” I think most of us would agree that we need revival in our lives.
I’d love to invite you to join me in praying for our revival services. We know that God must send revival and we certainly want to seek His favor. G. Campbell Morgan said, “We cannot organize revival, but we can set our sails to catch the wind from Heaven when God chooses to blow upon His people once again.” Leonard Ravenhill, who wrote one of my favorite books (Why Revival Tarries), said, “No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing; the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizations, but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few clingers; lots of pastors, few wrestlers; many fears, few tears; much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors; many writers, but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.” In other words, we need to be fervent in our prayers that the Lord may graciously send revival to our churches.
As mentioned before, the Kentucky Baptist Convention has an initiative this year called “Revival in Every Church” in which every church (Kentucky Baptist) has been encouraged to schedule some time of revival. I think that is an excellent idea. Revivals might not be as effective as they once were but if somebody gets saved, if a marriage or relationship is restored, if somebody repents of some hidden sin, if some are drawn closer to God and His Word, or if God grants us greater concern for our lost friends or neighbors, it will surely be worth the effort in having a revival. Yes, it seems that we are living in dark times. Adrian Rogers once made the point that “God has always sent revival in the darkest days. Oh, for a mighty, sweeping revival today!” I say, “Amen” to that!
Bro. Ray Woodie (from Glasgow) will be leading our revival services. He is going to preach mostly from the Book of Romans and talk much about authentic evidence of genuine conversion, assurance of salvation, and the core of the gospel. I can’t wait to spend time worshipping the Lord and opening His Word together. Charles Spurgeon said, “If we want revivals, we must revive our reverence for the Word of God.”
I hope you will be intentional about joining us for revival whenever you can and inviting others to join you (revival is a great time to invite others). I am expecting God to do what only He can do. I like what Ravenhill said, “You never have to advertise a fire. Everyone comes running when there’s a fire. Likewise, if your church is on fire, you will not have to advertise it. The community will already know it.” May God set us on fire for His glory! Pray for revival! May the Lord bless our efforts and may we be able to rejoice together when He brings a harvest of souls!