Friday, November 9, 2012

Be careful what you ask for...

I have been chewing on the results from Tuesday's election trying to figure out where our country is headed. My conclusion...I don't know! I am disappointed with where we are fiscally speaking. I do not like the debt, I do not like the uncertainty, I do not like the lack of cooperation between the two parties in Congress. But what I think I like even less is the moaning and complaining from the Christians. From time to time I found myself complaining and worrying about where our country would end up if we continued to move away from conservative, Biblical principals.

As I continued to think about this I could not help but remember how we (the Christians) have prayed for our country and we have prayed for revival. Well, it looks like we might be headed for a revival. Why do I think this. If we look at when revival takes place we will see that revival typically takes place in the midst of persecution. Rarely, if ever, does revival happen during prosperity. You can look at the Old Testament and see where God allowed Israel to prosper. Not long after they would turn away from God, turn to idols and end up in a mess. They would repent and God would restore them. Then the cycle would happen over and over. When we get into the New Testament we see the early church beginning to grow but it was not until persecution that it really began to spread and grow.
Acts 8: 1-8 - And on that day a great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the region of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen, and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Now those who were scattered went about preaching the word. Philip went down to a city of Samaria, and proclaimed to them the Christ. And the multitudes with one accord gave heed to what was said by Philip, when they heard him and saw the signs which he did. For unclean spirits came out of many who were possessed, crying with a loud voice; and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed. So there was much joy in that city.

Acts 12: 1-4 - 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2 He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3 When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4 After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.

Acts 12: 24 But the word of God continued to increase and spread.
You can go online and read story after story of Christian persecution in the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world and every time you will see where the church grows and thrives. It does not thrive monetarily, you will not see large churches being built in China, Iran or North Korea. You will not see youth retreats and crusades in Afghanistan or Yemen. These churches thrive spiritually.

There is an old saying..."Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it!" I think that many in the church want revival without the persecution. Many in the church want those outside the church, "those sinners" to get right with God. However, look at what Peter says:
I Peter 4: 17 - For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?
Judgement begins with the church. What has happened to the church in America? Have we bought into the prosperity Gospel, have be bought into programs, have we bought into celebrity pastors, have be bought into the idea that the size of the church determines whether it is successful or not? We have everything you could imagine from expensive sound systems, expensive lighting, expensive set designs, expensive instruments and on and on. But what would happen if it all went away? What would happen if all we had was a living room and a Bible. What if all we had were three couples and the Gospel?

The time may be coming where we get what we ask for. The time may be coming when the US, the greatest country in the world, sees a great spiritual revival but it could cost us everything we value. Are we truly ready for this, are we truly willing to give it all up to see God move in and do what he does best, draw men and women to himself?

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