walk in the word
Category: Attitudes, Change, Spiritual Life
[Downpour: He Will Come to Us Like the Rain, by James MacDonald ]
Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord;his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers,as the spring rains that water the earth. Hosea 6:3
In a lawn chair at the front of our church’s main entrance is a guy who’s been sitting there for months. He started coming every morning last summer. He sat there while the autumn leaves blew around him. I saw him sitting there as falling snow covered his feet. He was there again this morning. Across his chest he wears a big sign that reads, “observer.” And that’s all he does. He sits there—observing.
He’s not some wacko; he’s actually doing a legitimate job. We’re building a new worship center. As countless supply trucks come and go each week through that main entrance, he monitors construction traffic to ensure that non-union trucks don’t pass his entrance. At least that’s what he’s supposed to do; in reality, he sleeps or reads or stares into space. Somewhere along the line he moved from function to form. Now he’s like an unplugged toaster that looks the part but is more window dressing than union security.
As you might guess, this “observer” has been the source of many puzzled looks and the brunt of some jokes among our church staff. Someone propped a stuffed scarecrow in the “observer’s” place on Halloween. Nobody noticed the difference until midafternoon. We’ve had a lot of fun with it.
But I’ll tell you what’s not funny—when that “form without function” mentality moves from the street to the worship center. This is a book for people who have become spiritual observers. If you are unhappy with your current state of spiritual hunger, if you feel like your love for God has grown cold—then hard—to God’s people and God’s Word; if God has moved from the passion of your life to the back burner; if instead of straining for more of God—to put Him first and receive His best—you find yourself unexplainably holding back; and if you feel any of these things in increasing measure, this is definitely the book for you. This is a book about personal revival.
What Do We Mean by Revival?
The Bible teaches clearly and repeatedly that God wants to revive our relationship with Him. Revival is renewed interest after a period of indifference or decline. He wants to wake us up, to refresh our faith—to fire us up again.
If you feel like your faith is a bit off course, you must know that the first wrong turn in your life is always a move away from God. If you wake up one morning and find yourself in a desert, then you must trace your steps back to where you up and wandered away. You’ve got to return to the Lord. This kind of pain that won’t go away is rooted in a failure of faith, and all pleasure flows from unplugging the fountain of joy that is found only in God.
What Revival Isn’t
Sadly, when you say the word revival today, people think of all the circus chicanery and religious nonsense that accompanies flesh-induced spiritual fervor. For that reason I must spend a moment explaining what I don’t mean by revival.
Revival is not long lines of anxious sinners waiting for a turn at the microphone to reveal their most secret sinful something. That’s not revival.
Revival is not emotional extravagance where people are caught up in the moment and fall down, act bizarrely, unbiblical, and out of control. That’s not revival.
The Bible does not invite us to seek a revival, ask God for a revival, or pray that revival will come. In fact, the Bible does not even use the specific word revival though it frequently talks about people being revived. Throughout history there have been some downpours of God’s blessing that people called “revival” but we don’t have control over moves of God that affect whole cities or regions. What we can affect is the experience of being revived personally.
Revival is getting back on the path, getting the goal in view again and pursuing with new passion the One who can make your life more than you ever dreamed.
Revival is: God, gladly at the center of my life, experienced and enjoyed. I see God working. He’s doing much in my life and I’m loving it more and more. That’s revival.
Maybe you can remember a time when you were fired up about the Lord, but somehow you’ve drifted away. Maybe you’ve become like that guy in the lawn chair at the entrance to our church; you’re showing up, but you’re missing the mark. Maybe you could say, “Somewhere along the line I lost my passion for the Lord.” Well, you can have it back and God wants you to have it back! God wants that reviving for each one of us and there’s no biblical reason to doubt it.
This is a book with a specific, intentional plan to take you to a better place with God than you may have ever been before. This is a book about letting God tune your heart-strings to the melody you were made to play: a dynamic, delightful, genuine relationship with Him. No matter where you are or what you’ve done, no matter what you feel or think you need, the clouds of heaven are now bursting with the favor and fullness God would shower upon every place within you that is parched and dry. A deluge of dangerous delight in the God who made you is ready to rain down upon you. This is a book about revival—not in the world, not in our country, not in your church or even in your family, but in you. Personal, radical, joyful, biblical revival.
If enjoying a happening relationship with God was easy, everyone would have one. Fact is, most people do not—even those who are really trying. I know that I didn’t for a long time. But by God’s grace, He’s taught me and brought me a long way. More than anything I want to share with you the road I’ve traveled. I know that you have some questions and wonder how it can happen for you. Believe me, the answers and some practical activities to fasten what you’re learning to your experience are just ahead in these pages.
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