Revival in the Church…
By LeAnn Dilbeck
A nation in need of a new direction seems to be at the heart of so many debates and discussions. Are the problems too big to correct/change? How did we get this far off course? There’s a lot of finger-pointing in all directions in an attempt to lay blame but as the saying goes, every time we point our finger, there’s three more pointing back at us. This is part three of a four part series focused on the need for a revival in our nation but it must first begin in our own hearts, spill into our families, churches and ultimately, our nation.
The focus this week is a revival in our church. It is not intended to be a debate about organized religion, denominational practices or ceremony, etc. but the need for us as Christians, and as the body of Christ, to find and inspire strength to all generations to be bold and courageous in reclaiming what we know to be God’s truths and promises. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes… Romans 1:16.
The challenge for the church is to be all that God has called them to be and to keep the egos of mankind from getting in the way of accomplishing His goals. It’s not about numbers, policies or a check-list…it’s about teaching and nurturing personal relationships with our Almighty Creator.
We are saved by grace and grace alone. God’s Word says clearly in Ephesians 2: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Only Christ truly knows your heart but others can see the Fruits of the Spirit. We mustn’t be deceived into believing that if we follow a check-list, we are saved. It is not the baptism that guarantees our place in Heaven but the admission of being a sinner, believing that Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for our sins, and inviting Him into our hearts that God will recognize us as His child. With that huge decision should come an overwhelming hunger to know Him deeply. That is what God desires, to have an intimate personal relationship with us…for us to acknowledge Him in all our ways. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. – Proverbs 3:6
The church must return to the God of the Bible and not what this world has diminished Him to. We must remember to love as Christ loved the church. All of our “church activities” should have an eternal investment in the lives of others. We mustn’t become so busy in building, hosting, fundraising, etc. that we forget that He called the churches to care for the orphaned, widows and the poor.
Questions in the opening were posed: How did we get this far off course? Simple, as a nation, we took our eyes off of God, seeking His wisdom and acknowledging Him in all that we are and do for the sake of political correctness. We can’t become so consumed with organized religion and all of the ceremonies that come with that, that we forget to invite Him and allow Him…the leader of the church…to lead, to bless, and to guide us beyond the four walls of the sanctuary into becoming, not just the cornerstones of our communities, but the cornerstones of this great nation. We can’t sit idly by waiting on the government to make ALL of our decisions but focus on nurturing good, sound, Christian character that will grow leaders to take positions in the government that can lead this nation and put us back in the trusting arms of our Lord…”In God We Trust.”
Denominations have spent decades debating interpretations, preserving rituals and ceremonies, but we must realize we are on a raging battlefield that calls us to agree on the fundamentals of faith, to focus on the “big picture,” and to stop squabbling on formalities, to realize we mustn’t be muted or silenced anymore.
One school district in South Carolina recently made national news in its effort to be politically correct when they restricted the 2013 Valedictorian address of mentioning religion. A very bold 18-year old Roy Costner IV, after much prayer, stood in front of his graduating class and after years of following the rules, tore-up his address that had been pre-approved by the school principal, and said, “One thing I am certain of is we’re all a sum of our experiences, both good and bad,” he told his fellow graduates, a class of about 150. “All in all, those experiences, the people who mentored us, that we look up to, they have helped carve and mold us into the young adults that we are today. I’m so thankful that both of my parents led me to the Lord at a young age. And I think most of you will understand when I say, ‘Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name …” and Costner was drowned-out by applause and cheers of support as he recited the Lord’s prayer. God bless you, Roy Costner IV.
The argument by groups (such as Freedom From Religion Foundation) that are fighting diligently to remove God from our society, is that freedom of religion is one of the founding principles this nation was created on. I agree 100 percent… so that does not mean that Christians cannot publicly proclaim, worship, or pray out of fear of disrespect to non-Christians.
The problem is not about whether “it is too big to correct” because in Matthew, His word says clearly that “with God ALL things are possible”…key words are “with God.” Brother Joe Cornelison used to say that we are one generation away from a godless society, and the older I get, I realize the fearful truth of that statement.
Let all believers, Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, non-denominational, etc. … all join together and pray for a revival in the body of Christ, for us to repent of our laziness and meekness, to pray for God to give us boldness, for us to seize opportunities to pour out into a fallen nation, for us to renewed in strength and Spirit, to help lead and restore us to “one nation under God.” In the words of A.W. Tozer – “When the power of God moves in on the text and sets the sacrifice on fire, then you have genuine Christianity! We try to call that revival, but it is not revial at all. It is simply New Testament Christianity!”