Sunday, September 12, 2010

Genuine Revival Pt 2

Cal Thomas wrote something interesting, and I consider it worthy of reading and thinking about.

In calling for a spiritual revival in America at his Lincoln Memorial rally Aug. 28, talk show host Glenn Beck reached back into history and touched on a familiar theme.

What would a genuine revival look like and how did those that have transformed America several times in the past get started? Earlier revivals were not created from the mobilization of large crowds. They occurred when people did something infrequently observed in modern times: humbled themselves.

Depending on how you count them there have been at least three “great awakenings” in American history. All of them—along with revivals in other countries—had one thing in common. They all began with what the late revival historian J. Edwin Orr called “a concert of prayer.”

The 1857 revival is instructive. It began when two men working on Wall Street decided to meet once a week on their lunch hour to pray for revival. They soon decided to meet daily. They did not issue a press release. Other men soon joined them. The group grew so large they started meeting at night in churches and invited their wives to participate.

Revival came like a brush fire, exploding not only in New York City, but also up the Mohawk River and down the Hudson, into Appalachia. According to, from February to June 1858, “around 50,000 people a week were added to the church—in a nation whose population was only 30,000,000. Across the Atlantic another million were won to Christ by 1865. . . . Ulster saw 100,000 converted, Scotland 30,000, Wales 100,000 and England 500,000.”

Besides prayer, another characteristic of the 1857 revival and all other revivals was genuine repentance and a confession of personal guilt before a holy God. Anyone familiar with the Old and New Testaments knows that humbling one’s self before God gets His attention faster than any earthly pursuit or agenda.

Modern evangelicals, so preoccupied with who is in the White House or which party controls Congress, might benefit from studying the results of the revivals. As Orr tells it, not only did the 1857 revival have a profound social impact on America, it also dramatically affected every society it reached. Following the revival of 1905, crime virtually disappeared in London. The police had little to do, so they formed quartets and sang at the revival meetings.

A Chicago shoe salesman named Dwight L. Moody wanted to teach Sunday school at a local church, but was told by its superintendent that the church already had 16 teachers too many. The superintendent instructed Moody to “get some boys off the street” and “take them to the country. . . . They will be your class.” That was the beginning of a ministry and missionary work that lasted 40 years.

Revivals don’t ratify the earthly aspirations of humanity, including selfish political agendas. They are about glorifying God. Too many modern Christians have it backward. In a real revival the Lincoln Memorial event would have been a result, not an attempt to cause a revival. People would have assembled who had already repented in private. They would not have bemoaned a decline in American “morality,” but instead have fallen on their knees (or faces) and cried out in genuine repentance and humility.

On his blog, Dr. Russell Moore, dean of the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky., writes: “Too often, and for too long, American ‘Christianity’ has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at the heart mammon worship. . . .”

What passes for American Christianity today is increasingly counterfeit. It appears more focused on a transient earthly kingdom, rather than a heavenly eternal kingdom. That is idolatry and violates the First Commandment: “Thou shall have no other gods before me.”

When Christians obey that Commandment, and humble themselves, only then might revival follow.

Friday, September 10, 2010


I read this recently and thought it good enough to publish:
A Mormon television star stands in front of the Lincoln Memorial and calls American Christians to revival. He assembles some evangelical celebrities to give testimonies, and then preaches a God and country revivalism that leaves the evangelicals cheering that they've heard the gospel, right there in the nation's capital.
The news media pronounces him the new leader of America's Christian conservative movement, and a flock of America's Christian conservatives have no problem with that.
If you'd told me that ten years ago, I would have assumed it was from the pages of an evangelical apocalyptic novel about the end-times. But it's not. It's from this week's headlines. And it is a scandal.
Fox News commentator Glenn Beck, of course, is that Mormon at the center of all this. Beck isn't the problem. He's an entrepreneur, he's brilliant, and, hats off to him, he knows his market. Latter-day Saints have every right to speak, with full religious liberty, in the public square. I'm quite willing to work with Mormons on various issues, as citizens working for the common good. What concerns me here is not what this says about Beck or the "Tea Party" or any other entertainment or political figure. What concerns me is about what this says about the Christian churches in the United States.
It's taken us a long time to get here, in this plummet from Francis Schaeffer to Glenn Beck. In order to be this gullible, American Christians have had to endure years of vacuous talk about undefined "revival" and "turning America back to God" that was less about anything uniquely Christian than about, at best, a generically theistic civil religion and, at worst, some partisan political movement.
Rather than cultivating a Christian vision of justice and the common good (which would have, by necessity, been nuanced enough to put us sometimes at odds with our political allies), we've relied on populist God-and-country sloganeering and outrage-generating talking heads. We've tolerated heresy and buffoonery in our leadership as long as with it there is sufficient political "conservatism" and a sufficient commercial venue to sell our books and products.
Too often, and for too long, American "Christianity" has been a political agenda in search of a gospel useful enough to accommodate it. There is a liberation theology of the Left, and there is also a liberation theology of the Right, and both are at heart mammon worship. The liberation theology of the Left often wants a Barabbas, to fight off the oppressors as though our ultimate problem were the reign of Rome and not the reign of death. The liberation theology of the Right wants a golden calf, to represent religion and to remind us of all the economic security we had in Egypt. Both want a Caesar or a Pharaoh, not a Messiah.
Leaders will always be tempted to bypass the problem behind the problems: captivity to sin, bondage to the accusations of the demonic powers, the sentence of death. That's why so many of our Christian superstars smile at crowds of thousands, reassuring them that they don't like to talk about sin. That's why other Christian celebrities are seen to be courageous for fighting their culture wars, while they carefully leave out the sins most likely to be endemic to the people paying the bills in their movements.
Where there is no gospel, something else will fill the void: therapy, consumerism, racial or class resentment, utopian politics, crazy conspiracy theories of the left, crazy conspiracy theories of the right; anything will do. The prophet Isaiah warned us of such conspiracies replacing the Word of God centuries ago (Is. 8:12-20). As long as the Serpent's voice is heard, "You shall not surely die," the powers are comfortable.
This is, of course, not new. Our Lord Jesus faced this test when Satan took him to a high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the earth, and their glory. Satan did not mind surrendering his authority to Jesus. He didn't mind a universe without pornography or Islam or abortion or nuclear weaponry. Satan did not mind Judeo-Christian values. He wasn't worried about "revival" or "getting back to God." What he opposes was the gospel of Christ crucified and resurrected for the sins of the world.
We used to sing that old gospel song, "I will cling to an old rugged cross, and exchange it someday for a crown." The scandalous scene at the Lincoln Memorial indicates that many of us want to exchange it in too soon. To Jesus, Satan offered power and glory. To us, all he needs offer is celebrity and attention.
Mormonism and Mammonism are contrary to the gospel of Jesus Christ. They offer another Lord Jesus than the One offered in the Scriptures and Christian tradition, and another way to approach him. An embrace of these tragic new vehicles for the old Gnostic heresy is unloving to our Mormon friends and secularist neighbors, and to the rest of the watching world. Any "revival" that is possible without the Lord Jesus Christ is a "revival" of a different kind of spirit than the Spirit of Christ (1 Jn. 4:1-3).
The answer to this scandal isn't a retreat, as some would have it, to an allegedly apolitical isolation. Such attempts lead us right back here, in spades, to a hyper-political wasteland. If the churches are not forming consciences, consciences will be formed by the status quo, including whatever demagogues can yell the loudest or cry the hardest. The answer isn't a narrowing sectarianism, retreating further and further into our enclaves. The answer includes local churches that preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, and disciple their congregations to know the difference between the kingdom of God and the latest political whim.
It's sad to see so many Christians confusing Mormon politics or American nationalism with the gospel of Jesus Christ. But, don't get me wrong, I'm not pessimistic. Jesus will build his church, and he will build it on the gospel. He doesn't need American Christianity to do it. Vibrant, loving, orthodox Christianity will flourish, perhaps among the poor of Haiti or the persecuted of Sudan or the outlawed of China, but it will flourish.
And there will be a new generation, in America and elsewhere, who will be ready for a gospel that is more than just Fox News at prayer.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Beginnings

We started this church 29 years ago this Monday. Our first service was 7/26/81, and the adventure from that day until now has been incredible in many ways. We have seen the Lord move in many ways over these many years, and the trip has been well worth it.
We have had great joy, and have experienced great loss. Along the way we have picked up many who have traveled with us for years, and others who stayed for but a short time. I have seen children grow up in our church to adulthood, and have married them and dedicated their children. I performed a marriage for a young man and a year later, officiated his funeral. I led my dad to Christ, and then buried my father when he went home to be with Jesus. I was 30 years old when the church was planted, and have grown old with the church and have seen my grandchildren born and raised here, in this church.
I have seen many who have loved us and our church, and others who do not have a good word to say about us or to us. Thousands have come, and thousands have left. Such is church life.
As I think on these things, I cannot help but believe that through it all, the Lord has in many ways shown Himself to be good to us, no matter what we have gone through. He is and remains the center of all that we are, and on the eve of our anniversary, I just want to praise Him for all His is and all He has been to us.
As you know, this Sunday we reduce our services from three to two. It isn't because we are losing anything but it is so we can gain something: the opportunity of enjoying the Lord and one another in a deeper way. I look forward to this change of times, and believe strongly that the Lord will meet us in a special way as we take this step.
We will also celebrate in the evening with a baptism, so if you haven't been baptized you might want to come to the evening service!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


In the 1860's David Livingstone returned to Great Britain on his first vacation after 16 years of traveling in the interior of darkest Africa. Livingstone was asked to speak at the University of Glasgow, but perhaps he would have declined if he knew what was in store for him. It was the custom of undergraduates those days to heckle the speakers who came, and they were well prepared for this preacher. They had peashooters and trumpets and rattles and noisemakers of every description. David Livingstone walked out on to the platform. Here stood the man who had walked 11,000 miles all over Africa. His left arm hung limply at his side having been almost ripped from his body by a huge lion. His face was dark and leathery brown from 16 years in the African sun. His face was furrowed with deep lines from African fever that racked his emaciated body. Savages, as well as Turks who hunted Africans to sell as slaves had attacked him. Livingstone was half-deaf from rheumatic fever and half blind from a branch that had slapped him in the eyes in the jungle. The students stared and they knew that here was a man that was literally being burned out for God. Not a rattle moved, not a foot shuffled and a hush crept over the vast auditorium as they listened in total silence as David Livingstone told about his journeys and the tremendous needs of this vast African population. "Shall I tell you," he said "what sustained me in the midst of all those toils, hardships, and incredible loneliness? It was a promise. The promise of the Lord that "I am with you always even to the end of the world." It was this promise that Christ would be with me personally right next to me every hour of each day that gave me the courage to continue day after day," Livingstone said.

For David Livingstone Jesus Christ was with him, and Livingstone lived as if Jesus Christ was right next to him each moment. In Livingstone's diary we find his tremendous prayer, "Lord send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me; sever any ties but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart." And Jesus said "David, I am with you always". Livingstone's wife Mary finally came to meet him in Africa, and for months she sailed on the ocean and then she cruised up the steamy mosquito swarming rivers. Soon after she greeted her husband she contracted African fever. Night after night, day after day David sat up with her and wiped her fevered brow. And slowly she worsened and finally took her last breath. Mary was dead. David Livingstone buried her under a huge tree and then he fell on that mound of dirt and wept. The Lord reminded Livingstone of his prayer. Sever any ties but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart. His body was broken, his loved ones were gone, and he seemed alone and discouraged. He was overcome. How did he deal with sorrow and grief? This is what he wrote in his diary. "My Jesus, my King, my Life, my all. I again consecrate my life to you. I shall place no value on anything I possess, on anything I may do except in relation to the Kingdom of Christ." When he arrived back home he found that natives had stolen his food and worst of all they had stolen his medicine chest with the quinine and other medicines to alleviate the pain of those terrible African fevers. For Livingstone the loss of these essential things was a death sentence and he cried out to God. "Oh, God you promised to be with me." Then he heard the sound and he looked up from his prayer. For five years he had not seen the face of a white man, and now, in the midst of the interior of Africa he looked up and he saw a white face walking toward him. Behind this white man was a whole caravan and above them flying in the wind the American flag. It was Henry Stanley who uttered those unforgettable words, "Dr. Livingstone I presume". For four months Stanley lived in the same hut with Livingstone. He nursed Livingstone back to health. Stanley had been an atheist but after those four months living with Livingstone Stanley became a Christian. Livingstone refused to return to civilization with Stanley. Instead Livingstone plunged deeper into Africa. For Livingstone the end was approaching. His diary said, "Lord help me to finish thy work this year to thine honor." And so he did. He came to a place where his strength was completely spent; his feet were lacerated and ulcerated with boils. He had nothing to eat but hard maize (dried corn) for months. Gradually all his teeth became loosened and fell out. He was deserted by everyone with the exception of three of his followers who tried to carry his very sick body back to England. Livingstone could not walk, he couldn't stand, and he couldn't go another step. His response was simple: Livingstone commanded his friends to put him on a stretcher and carry him onward. "I will not swerve one hairs breadth while I still have life." Deeper and deeper he plunged into Africa on a stretcher. Propped up, he proclaimed the riches of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to all with whom he came into contact. And then there came a day when Livingstone couldn't even be moved. It was pouring rain. A small temporary hut was quickly made. Livingstone was lying on his cot in the middle of the night when the servant boy who lay across the doorway to keep out wild beasts heard Livingstone stir. The servant boy got up and saw Livingstone agonizingly roll out of his cot and on to his knees and with his hands folded in prayer. After a while the boy went back to sleep but in the morning when he looked on Livingstone he saw him still in prayer. Several people came asking for Livingstone but the boy told them that Livingstone was still in prayer not to disturb him. Finally the boy became concerned and said to Livingstone softly "Sir", no answer. "Sir" still silence. He crept closer to him and touched his cold cheek. Livingstone died on his knees in prayer.

Livingstone had lived his life in the presence of Christ and he left this life in the presence of Christ. Jesus said, "I am with you always" and He had kept His promise.

Livingstone's life consisted of 39 years, traveling 29,000 miles across Africa bringing light to darkness. Two million Africans were brought to the Gospel and the light he brought continues to shine to this day. For every mile Livingstone walked or was carried, he was strengthened by Jesus' promise: "I am with you always".

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Lu 5:39 And no one having drunk old wine, immediately desires new; for he says The old is better.

We moved onto these grounds almost 18 years ago, and from the beginning had three morning services.Over the years, we have gotten used to having three services, and it has pretty much simply been a habit.

For me, it has been a "We have always had three services" kind of thing.

For many years I have wanted to bring the church closer together, to become more like the church that we see in the Book of Acts. A church that was committed to God's Word, prayer, the breaking of bread, and fellowship.

As I have been looking at the church, I have found that we are able to reduce from three to two services, and after much prayer and much time looking at the practical ramifications as well as the logistics of such a move, I have been led to believe we not only can do this, but that we should do this.

I find myself concerned for people who may not be able to make the change, or may simply not want to. Some may even feel so strongly about it that they may choose to go somewhere else. I would hope that would not be the case, but honestly understand and respect anybody's reason to choose to do so.

For me, the blessings seem to outweigh any initial inconveniences and adjustments that we will need to make.

We have opened up more parking on the North lot by tearing down fences, removing trees, and eliminating a structurally deficient workshop. We are grading the dirt, adding crushed gravel, and opening up a new driveway for easier exiting. Initially that area MAY be designated parking for those who have come early to serve in the various ministries for each service, but will also be used for regular parking. We also are creating specified spaces for our bikers, which will help to keep other parking spaces available.

We will continue having the overflow services in the chapel, for latecomers (but be on time!)
Service times will be at 8:30, and 10:30 and we will change the evening service to 5 pm and we are looking at the best time for our Spanish language Sunday morning study but it will more than likely meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday night times will remain the same.

These changes will take place on July 25th: please mark your calendar if you plan on being with us.

One other thing: I am considering returning to the Sunday night teaching, and if I do, I will simply teach the same message I gave in the morning, which will be like having a third service.
Please keep all of this in prayer. I do not take this lightly, but do believe it is something I am being led by the Spirit to do and expect the Lord to bless abundantly.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Ramblin' on

Christianity is alive, inside and outside of the church. Those who do not attend fellowship are often the most resistant to Scriptural commands, confusing rebellion with maturity. Still, when the church gathers in a building to receive instruction, if God's word is not taught and if people are not encouraged to live it out, the result is people deceived in to thinking they are doing well in the Lord, even living in grace when all along they are living lives that are unfruitful, and without true spiritual fruit. When God's word is actually taught properly, and His people actually receive it holiness and a life that is "worthy of the gospel" actually is evidenced. Paul wrote to the Romans Your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf' but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil (Ro 16:19). Sadly, this is not true with the majority of those I come in to contact who profess faith in Jesus. Francis Chan is right when he says The American church is a very difficult place to live out Biblical Christianity. After almost 40 years of walking with the Lord, and 37 years in ministry I have to concur. Still, God is moving and I am praying for an awakening in the body of Christ. Father, please bring another Jesus Movement!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a few things

It's been some time since I have blogged, but it is time to lay a couple of things down. First, I got the weirdest post that will go unpublished by someone extremely carnal (using improper language) and obviously very unstable. These kinds of people exist everywhere, and some even go to church but are in such terrible shape in life that they really can't hear good because they are too busy fussing over perceived evils. Such was the case of the recent writer. I don't know if they will actually open up this page again, but in the event that they do I would invite them to write me with a return address so that we can discuss their issue and perhaps help them to see that they are sadly mistaken in what they believe to be true. I do invite the writer of said note to write me at and we can discuss your allegations against the pastor you have libeled.

On another note, we have started praying as a group before and after the message is delivered, and for those who may be having difficulty adjusting, I would encourage you to hold and and see what the Lord does through this.

Why are we doing this, you might ask. Well, I am doing it because I was part of such a service, and it moved me spiritually in a very deep way, and when something blesses me I desire to share such blessings with our sheep. Over the years we have grown (and receded) many times, and from my perspective it is just the right season for us to grow up and to pray with one another. After all, that is what the early church did (Ac 2:42-47) and God used it to glorify Himself and to bring great numbers of people into a saving relationship with Him.

We live in an entertainment oriented society, and churches like ours can very easily lose sight of Jesus and just become an organization with little or no spiritual activity that is not centered on somebody else doing something for us. Think about it: you come to church, park your car, deliver kids to childcare, enter in, sit down all with the help of somebody else. The worship team leads us in songs (we don't have to memorize the words, they are on a screen), we sing, the bulletin is read to us, and then I come out and pray, teach, pray and then you sing and leave. Pretty clean, but the only thing you have had to do is to listen (if you aren't texting). I just don't think that is the right way to "be" the church, and so by introducing a time of prayer (30 seconds) the church actually has a chance to do what the church is supposed to do!

Some can't handle this, and I understand. But I would rather have a small group of people who hunger to do what the Lord wants then a huge group of people who just don't care and aren't willing to grow. With that said, please keep this change in prayer as it has actually caused some to leave and to go where nothing is required from them other than to show up, which is the way they like it. For us over here, we will continue doing what will ultimately lead to a healthy and spiritually strong church.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

With All of Your Heart

I was so blessed by Ryan and Sonny's testimonies that they recently gave here at the church. We are truly moved as we consider what the Lord wants to do for this new generation, and the response to the "authenticity" of their faith and conversions really has been a blessing to me on a very personal level.
I was speaking to Ryan recently and told him that what he has just encountered is what his dad Raul Ries, Mike MacIntosh, Bob Grenier, I, and so many others have experienced and that we, who were considered "radicals" when we were young and had become Jesus Freaks have been given such a boost when we have been able to see what God did in his life, as well as the movement that is really beginning to gain momentum through him and his friends. Bless God, it is so "time" for an awakening!
The psalmist wrote: I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will tell of all Your marvelous works (Ps 9:1) and this is what we are seeing now in the lives of our youth and I am, along with so many other pastors, very refreshed as I see a new generation arising to bring the glorious gospel to a dead and dying world.
Keep the Whosoevers in prayer, as the devil is not happy and is going to begin an onslaught on them. Pray that they will stay in the Word, prayer, fellowship, and the freshness of God's Spirit, and pray that the "church" will stand with them as they go in to the pit of hell to rescue people. I love these kids and want to see the Lord work through them!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

New Generation

One of the saddest commentaries on the spiritual life of Israel can be found in Judges 2:10 which points out that a generation arose that did not know the LORD nor the work He had done for Israel. As a veteran of the Jesus Revolution, it pains me to think of how ineffective many of us have been in communicating our faith to the next generation, and it seems to me that the Lord would have us redouble our efforts at winning the young to Jesus.
The overwhelming majority of people between 18-35 have no concept of what truth is, if there is such a thing, its origin, or if anybody has any authority to even say that they have it! There is such a lack of respect for pastors and bible teachers! A recent poll concluded that the most trusted professional is a nurse, followed by pharmacists, veterinarians, followed by medical doctors and kindergarten teachers: clergy members came in sixth! Think about it, people trust their nurses more than they trust a pastor. How did this happen? Sadly, some pastors have done terrible things, and the public has come to mistrust the profession as a whole. Heap on this teachers who are antagonistic towards the bible and a lack of respect for things holy, and it is easy to see how people would misunderstand us and our message.
Change has got to come, real change, and I pray that the Lord will reach us all in such a way as to compel us to live our lives more deeply committed to him. I am also praying for a new Movement, and with this in mind on the 28th of this month, I will have Ryan Ries share for a few minutes on Sunday morning about an upcoming outreach called the Whosoever Tour. Ryan and many young believers want a new Revolution, and I think God can use him and some of his friends to stir us up. Bring some young people to church on Sunday the 28th, and let's see what happens!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haiti Relief

We are waiting to hear how we can be of help to the people of Haiti. Our fellowship has provided financial gifts, and we are going to be sending them for relief as soon as we hammer down a few things. One of the things is: we have a member of our fellowship whose parent's have been ministering in Haiti for 35 years. We are waiting on some direction from him to see if we might be able to come along side of their ministry in a practical way. We are also looking at various ministries that are funneling funds into relief aid, and are waiting on this to make sure the funds go to the most needy that we can find. Ultimately we obviously trust that the Lord will direct the gifts, but at the same time we are waiting for a short time until we disperse them. Prayerfully we should be able to do so this week, so if you have anything you would like to give, please feel free to send your gift to the church and we will send it as soon as we determine where it will be most effective. Just label your gift Haiti Relief