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REVIVAL CORNER - ROAD TO REVIVAL

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									                                 REVIVAL CORNER
                             WEEK #17 (April 26-May 2, 2009)

                                      Seize the Moment

If you missed Halley’s Comet in 1986, you won’t have a chance to see it again until the year
2061. Many people won’t have this opportunity in their lifetimes. Too bad, because it’s the most
famous of all the comets. But it only returns every 75 years.


The average time span between sweeping national revivals is about this long (or longer). In the
Old Testament, there was a period of more than 90 years between King Hezekiah’s purification of
the temple (2 Chronicles 29-31) and the later reforms of King Josiah, the last of Judah’s good
kings (2 Chronicles 34-35). The next highlighted occasion in the Scriptures was the temple-
rebuilding project about 100 years later (Ezra 3). This led to a season of blessing when the
temple had been completed, the priests were functioning in their designated roles and Passover
was again celebrated. The revival scene following the return of the exiles seven chapters later
(Ezra 10) didn’t happen until another 75 years had passed.


Historians agree that major times of revival in North America include the First Great Awakening in
the 1740s, the Second Great Awakening in the early 1800s, revival movements surrounding the
ministry of Charles Finney starting in 1825, and the national prayer revivals of 1857-1858. Some
scholars include the early 1900s, with the Azusa Street Revival meetings on the West Coast of
the United States, and the spillover of the 1904-1905 Welsh Revival. Now it’s been close to a
century since a powerful revival has impacted the nation.


In his book Experiencing God, Henry Blackaby writes: “You need to know what God has on His
agenda for your church, community, and nation at this time in history. Then you and your church
can adjust your lives to God, so that He can move you into the mainstream of His activity before it
is too late.” Because a sweeping revival is most likely a once-in-a-lifetime experience, position
yourself to be a part of what God is doing. You have the option to identify with the workings of the
Spirit – or you can choose to ignore them.


Ruth is a Biblical example of someone who purposely chose to identify with the people of God.
She could have followed the example of her sister-in-law and given up on the God of Israel.
Instead, she told her mother-in-law Naomi, “Don’t urge me to leave you … Your people will be my
people and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). As a result, she became a part of the lineage both of
King David and of the King of kings, Jesus Christ, and we admire her walk of faith.
To be a part of the movement of the Spirit is to set your sail to catch the divine wind. This is why
it’s important to be on the alert as the process of revival begins to unfold. You don’t want to miss
a once-in-a-lifetime spiritual meteor-shower when it’s blazing across the heavens. That’s what
happened to Demas, who deserted Paul and his Kingdom-expanding ministry. God’s hand was
obviously on the Apostle Paul as he went about his church planting, opening up country after
country to the message of Jesus Christ. But Demas didn’t remain a part of what was happening,
“because he loved this world” (2 Timothy 4:10). He wouldn’t live long enough for another such
opportunity to come his way.


Don’t put off any longer forming a small group that prays regularly for revival, or becoming a part
of one that is already meeting. When leaders of the church call for periods of fasting and prayer,
Christians need to take such challenges seriously. If the Spirit prompts you, jump at the chance to
participate in a national rally of one kind of another. Such an opportunity may never come your
way again.


ACTION STEPS


   RUTH had a critical choice to make. Read about it in the book that bears her name. Does the
    Lord have you in a place where you need to make a major decision? “Should I change jobs?
    Is this the person I should marry? Where should I go to school? What church should I join?”
    Here’s a good question to consider when faced with issues like these: “What will put me in
    line with where God is already working so I can be a part of His divine activity?”


   IDENTIFY something new in your spiritual life that you’ve done in the last few years. Have
    you gone on a short-term missions trip? Become familiar with different translation of the
    Bible? Talked with someone on the commuter train who is from a different church tradition?
    Memorized Scripture verses? Supported a new ministry? Found victory over a long-standing
    temptation? If you can’t think of anything, you’re probably in a subtle, but unfortunate, rut.
    Sometimes Christians close their minds to anything new or different without realizing that
    they are shutting themselves off from a special work of the Lord. This is not where you want
    to be! Next time a new opportunity comes your way, don’t just write it off.


   YOU can’t determine when a revival will sweep the country, touch down at the school you
    attend, or penetrate your local church. But you can decide what you want your relationship
    with the Lord to be like. How can you position your sail to catch the wind of the Spirit as it
    blows? Here are some ideas to get you going:
        o    Read Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Claude V. King
        o   Declare a personal month-long television fast to concentrate on developing spiritual
            disciplines in your life.
        o   Participate in a program of accelerated spiritual growth, such as a 50-Day Spiritual
            Adventure.
        o   Get involved in a major event like a Promise Keepers conference or The March for
            Jesus.
        o   Ask someone to be a revival prayer partner for the next two months.
        o   Other: ______________________________________________________________


   READ the Apostle Paul’s remarks about his coworkers in 2 Timothy 4:9-13. Can you think of
    people who used to be interested in revival but aren’t anymore? Like Demas, they were living
    on the cutting edge of the faith, but then something happened. Might someone say this is true
    of you? Has another love replaced what used to be a passion for the things of the Lord?


NOTE: The Road to Revival changes direction with this lesson. Until now, the focus has been on
what revival looks like in a local church. The new direction will approach revival from a more
personal perspective. Because of this, the lessons may feel more intense than what you have
experienced so far. Ask the Holy Spirit to make you receptive to the truths He wants you to learn.
You see, it’s all part of positioning yourself to be involved in what God is doing.


FOR FURTHER STUDY
………Matthew 4:18-22
………………Joshua 2:1-14
…………………………Hebrews 11:8-10
…………………………………Mark 10:17-30
…………………………………………Ephesians 5:15-17

								
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