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Posts Tagged ‘Need for Revival

After Manasseh Came A Josiah

In 2 Kings 21:1-9 we read:

Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty-five years in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Hephzibah. 2 And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to the despicable practices of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel. 3 For he rebuilt the high places that Hezekiah his father had destroyed, and he erected altars for Baal and made an Asherah, as Ahab king of Israel had done, and worshiped all the host of heaven and served them. 4 And he built altars in the house of the Lord, of which the Lord had said, “In Jerusalem will I put my name.” 5 And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. 6 And he burned his son as an offering and used fortune-telling and omens and dealt with mediums and with necromancers. He did much evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 7 And the carved image of Asherah that he had made he set in the house of which the Lord said to David and to Solomon his son, “In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all the tribes of Israel, I will put my name forever. 8 And I will not cause the feet of Israel to wander anymore out of the land that I gave to their fathers, if only they will be careful to do according to all that I have commanded them, and according to all the Law that my servant Moses commanded them.” 9 But they did not listen, and Manasseh led them astray to do more evil than the nations had done whom the Lord destroyed before the people of Israel.

In our wicked world it is easy to look around at our wicked, sinful leaders and see the judgment of God.  I look around at my own culture and I see evidence of Romans 1.  People are full of sin.

However, my hope is in the Lord God and in His Word.  I have hope in the gospel.  I know that Jesus will triumph and He alone is King of kings and He alone is Lord of lords (1 Timothy 6:15-16).  Jesus reigns even now from heaven (Acts 3:19-21).  His reign includes all His enemies coming under His feet (Psalm 110:1; 1 Corinthians 15:24-26).  I look around at the wicked world and I can easily be full of despair but my hope is that the gospel will go forth and the reign of Jesus will never be stopped.

In 2 Kings 21:1-9 we read of the wicked king of Judah, Manasseh.  I have yet to live under such a wicked king.  We have had wicked men and women in the past but few compare to the wickedness of Manasseh.  Manasseh went so far in his idolatry that he built altars in Jerusalem in the temple of Yahweh to his false gods.  He offered his own sons on the altars to his false gods.  2 Kings 21:16 says, “Moreover, Manasseh shed very much innocent blood, till he had filled Jerusalem from one end to another, besides the sin that he made Judah to sin so that they did what was evil in the sight of the LORD.”

After Manasseh, his son Amon reigned as king over Judah and he followed in the footsteps of Manasseh.  Amon was a wicked king.

After Amon, however, comes Josiah.  2 Kings 22:2 says, “And he what was right in the eyes of the LORD and walked in all the way of David his father, and he did not turn aside to the right or  to the left.”

The Lord raised up a Josiah after the wickedness of Manasseh and Amon.  This gives me hope.  This encourages me.

In my own wicked nation, I see our leaders full of sin.  They are full of idolatry, greed, corruption, they support the murdering of millions of babies at the altars of the gods of conveyance and sex.  Our leaders are just like Manasseh in many ways.  They even shed innocent blood not just in unjust wars and wicked attacks on citizens but they support the abortion mill industries which murder innocent babies each and every day.  In my own state and in my own city I see the wickedness of our leaders even on a local level.  They give in to the sexually perverted who want their “rights” and they support the wickedness of racism and abortion on demand.  Yes it is easy to be discouraged.

But I have hope that God can raise up a Josiah.  My hope is not in politicians.  They are corrupt.  My hope is not in men.  They are corrupt.  My hope is in the Lord God who can turn the tide through His gospel.  My hope is in the gospel (Romans 1:16-17).  Josiah was a mighty man of God.  We need mighty men of God to turn not just my own nation but he nations of this fallen, sinful world to the Lord God.  This will not come through politicians or through political reform (though they will happen through the gospel) but will only come through a man of God being faithful to God.

My hope is that the wicked nations of this world (which is all of them) will turn to the Lord Jesus Christ.  The gospel transformed the Roman Empire and turned them away from idolatry to the truth of the gospel.  Over time, corrupt church leaders corrupted the gospel and turned the church in Rome away from the gospel to idolatry that we now see as the Roman Catholic Church but I have hope that Catholics will repent and be saved.  I have hope that the nations will be saved by the grace of God.

We read in many places that the nations will bow down to the Lord God (see Psalm 22:27; 86:8-9; Isaiah 2:3; Revelation 15:4).  Jesus has conquered the nations by His death and resurrection and He now commands us to make disciples in every nation until He reigns forevermore (Matthew 28:18-20).

May God send a revival of His truth!

Brownsville Revival: 20 Years Later

On Father’s Day, 1995, Brownsville Assembly of God had a special speaker in Rev. Steve Hill.  Hill was scheduled to preach that night (in those days, churches still had Sunday night services even on Father’s Day) in lieu of the passing of John Kilpatrick’s mother the previous week.  Kilpatrick simply was tired and he asked Hill to preach the morning service as well.  Hill preached from Psalm 77:11-12.  You can watch the sermon online and there was nothing in the sermon that was incredible.  Hill simply preached from his life, from his own experience of longing for God.  The altar call is where the “revival” began.  The revival that started that morning would continue until 2002.

I attended the Brownsville Revival (as it became known) three times.  The first was in 1996, once in 1997, and again in 2002.  By 2002, the revival was not really a revival anymore and the church was trying to find its place again.

The Good & The Bad

I went to Brownsville in 1996 very skeptical of what I would see.  People at our local church were constantly going on and on about what God was doing in Pensacola.  I heard strange things were happening and people were going to Pensacola for experience above the Word of God.  I had had a friend go down there and he “fell under the power” for a few hours.  He said the event changed his life (more to that later).  Thousands of people were heading to Pensacola to the point that even the news program, 20/20, did an expose on the revival.  Newspapers reported on the revival.  The church sign out front had to be daily changed as they would put how many souls were being saved at the revival.  At our church, people believed this was the great final outpouring of the Spirit before Jesus would come.  They believed God was preparing the world for the end by reaching out to it one last time. I watched entire churches change their entire services to reflect Brownsville.

When I went down to Pensacola in 1996, I was very skeptical of what I would see.  I did not go there seeking a revival.  I did not go there to seek an experience.  In fact, I had no experiences.  However, I left hungry for God.  While I saw some flesh, I saw some good.  I saw thousands of people praying at the Tuesday night prayer meeting which was the highlight of the week for me.  I saw people weeping over the lost.  I saw people longing to touch God with their prayers for sinners.  That blessed me.

However, I also saw people in the flesh.  I talked to some teenagers (as I was only 21) and they focused entirely on experiences instead of the Word of God.  That said, I also saw the youth pastor (Richard Crisco or Brother Richard) exhorting his teenagers to get into the Word.  Brother Richard preached the best that week in my estimation.  He preached from 1 Samuel 14 about Jonathan and his armor bearer and how we need to be around disciples if we are going to war.

I saw the strange manifestations.  I saw strange people.  One lady asked to pray for me and I said she could.  I closed my eyes and waited for her to lay her hands on me to pray but she did not and all was silent.  I opened one eye to see what she was doing and she was doing some sort of charismatic dance in front of me while, I guess, praying for me?  It was truly strange.

Another girl asked if an Argentinean pastor had prayed for me.  I said no.  She said that if he prays for you, you fall under the power of God (slain in the Spirit in the charismatic world) for hours.  At that time, I was open to this so she went to get him to pray for me.  He prayed for me but nothing happened.  Steve Hill came by and just pushed me down (courtesy drop we called it).

I watched as people literally chased John Kilpatrick around the church.  He took off running and people were running after him for his “anointing.”

I stood in line to talk to John Kilpatrick and was going to ask where in the Bible does he find evidence for the revival.  I was right behind a lady when she asked the very question I was going to ask him.  His reply was bad.  He said, “Woman, lay aside your mind and just let God touch you.  I can’t answer your questions about where this is in the Bible but I know it is from God because I see Him all over this place.  Let go and let God!”  That was it.  She and I both walked away from him shaking our heads.

Back home,  I watched people try to copy Brownsville.  They would preach like Steve Hill or pray like Kilpatrick.  They wanted their praise team to sound like Lindell Cooley and the Brownsville team.  Prayer banners became popular.  The subjective experiences I witnessed at the revival were carried over to the churches with shaking and laughing.

My View 20 Years Later

Did God do something in Pensacola?  Hard to judge.  I have found people who were saved at the revival and still are seeking God today.  I praise God for that.  However, I know a few unbelievers as well who once were “on fire” at the revival but today are enemies of Christ.  When I visited Brownsville in 1996, the neighborhood was hardly touched at all by the revival.  I remember walking over to an African-American woman’s house and asked her about the revival.  She said that she use to send her children to the church before the revival but now avoided it.  She pointed to the lines and lines of people and said the revival was a white revival and not a black revival so she wouldn’t go.  How sad.

Today Pensacola still needs the gospel.  The church has had a hard time after the revival.  The expenses of the revival ran the church into major debt.  The church is still fairly large but nothing like it use to be. Before the revival, the church had 2000 members.  Today they have less than 800.  The lines of people are long gone.  John Kilpatrick left the church in conflict in 2000.  Steve Hill left in 2001 to go back to missions work.  Hill died in 2014.

Sadly, most churches I know who were touched by Brownsville have faded as well.  Today they are seeking to be like Perry Noble or like Rick Warren more than like Brownsville.  What I think Brownsville highlighted was the tragedy of seeking experiences above God.  The churches who adopted Brownsville tactics did so not because of the Word of God but because of experiences and pragmatism.  They wanted Brownsville crowds and not revival.

I know of few churches today that truly pray for revival.  The one blessing that came from the Brownsville revival was that the word “revival” was so common on our lips in the 1990’s.  The Assemblies of God even had a link on their website in those days focusing on revivals breaking out across the nation and the world.  I remember attending the Church of God (Cleveland, TN) camp meeting in South Carolina in 1998 and the entire focus was on revival.  The preaching evangelist had just got back from Brownsville and was on fire.  He wanted to see the Church of God folks go back to their churches with the fire of God. Sadly, those days seem to be gone.  I hear few churches speaking of seeking God earnestly for revival.  Revival seems to be only what we read about today and not seek.

The Brownsville revival did spark a hunger in my life.  After the revival, I went on to long for God more and study His Word more.  I am thankful that He has been faithful to me all these years later.  I love the Bible now more than ever before.  I love sinners now more than ever before.  I long to pray for revival like I use to.  I long to see the churches seeking God for revival yet again.  So I go back to Psalm 77:11-12 and I pray that God would touch His people.  I don’t want another Brownsville revival but I want a true revival of sound doctrine, of sound preaching, of sound praying, and of soul winning.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/20/2015 at 10:48 AM

Finding Psychiatric Help on Every Page

There was a time when Bible teachers would find theology dripping on every page.  Great truths of the Word of God ranging from theology proper (God) to other forms of biblical theology were the focus.  Sermons (even open air sermons) were focused on theology and how we can learn about God from the text.  After all, the Bible was given to us to reveal the Lord Jesus (John 20:31; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:16-21).

Yet today I find that modern evangelicalism is finding psychiatric help on every page of the Bible.  Sermon series are now designed around how we can not learn about God or about sound doctrine but about “life lessons” from the text.  In the passion for “real and relevancy” to the masses, the church has abandoned looking for God on every page to looking for psychiatric help on every page.  Churches take stories from the lives of saints such as Moses or Elijah and make them fit into this psychiatric flow so that now we can read the story of Moses or Daniel or Paul and we can learn how God wants us to have an awesome life too.  God just wants to bless our socks off and He wants to teach how to have a great marriage, how to be a better person, five steps to a new me, ten steps to raising godly children.  The entire focus seems to be on making us all better now that we come to realize that our biggest struggle isn’t sin but self-esteem and so God’s Word helps me see myself as God sees me.

The entire focus of the church service seems to flow toward that one goal: to make a new me.  The songs are focused on my dating relationship with God (with no thought if the song is biblical or not).  The prayers are for those who had a tough week and need grace just to make it through.  The sermons are focused on my felt needs and what I need to hear from God to make me a better person.

And tossed out is the gospel.  Tossed out is sound doctrine.  Stop and ponder this for a moment: when was the last time you heard a sound theological sermon at your church?  When was the last time you heard the church teaching on the holiness of God?  On sin?  On justification by faith?  When was the last time you heard a sermon on the Trinity?  What about a sound theology of prayer?  When was the last time you heard someone defending the deity of Christ from the pulpit by looking to the Word of God?

Instead we get sermons focused not on God proper but upon how God can help us.  Even salvation is summed up with “the sinner’s prayer” or altar calls.  Salvation as a doctrine is not examined.

We must get back to glorifying God in our teaching.  I rejoice that not every church is like the above.  Most I know of are.  Theology is vital because what we think about God shows in our actions (Psalm 14).  1 Timothy 4:16 is a key text as is John 8:31-32.  To merely claim to know God but not truly know God is foolishness (Jeremiah 9:23-24).  Wisdom begins in fearing God (Proverbs 1:7) but the user-friendly god we find preached today is not the God of the Bible.  The God of the Bible has a wonderful plan for your life: come and die (Luke 9:23-25).  Lay down yourself (Luke 14:25-35).  The God of the Bible calls you to look to eternity (2 Corinthians 4:16-18) and not to the here and now.  The God of the Bible even demands that you hate all things (including yourself) in your love for Him.  God is to be first and foremost (John 14:15; 1 John 2:3-6).  The God of the Bible calls us to holiness (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).

But like those in Romans 1:18-32, we don’t want a God like that.  We want a god we can control.  We want a friendly god.  We want a loving god who does not care what we do or how we act.  We want a god who looks like us, talks like us, walks like us, and is there for us.  We have so removed ourselves from the God of the Bible that we can’t even recognize Him anymore.  He is fading from our memories and has been replaced by this false god who does not save.  I pray that we all lay down our idols (Isaiah 40:18-23).  We need genuine repentance.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/23/2014 at 12:17 PM

One Pragmatic Church Quote I Agree With

“What you win them with is what you win them to.”

This is absolutely true.  So pragmatic church, bear in mind that when you seek to win the people in your community with goofy skits, sermons on movies and television programs that people should not watch anyway, moralistic sermon series’ designed to take people to a new level, rock concerts full of smoke and lights that you call your “worship service,” and other pragmatic schemes of men that you devise to “win” the crowds, that is what you win them to.

But I ask, “Where is Jesus in all this?”  Where is the Bible being preached, proclaimed, and exegeted before the people?  Where is the call to holiness, to repentance, to self-sacrifice in an age of narcism?  Where is the glory of God being manifested?  Where is the labor in prayer, in evangelism (and by that I don’t mean inviting people to your seeker church so that they can get comfortable with God but I am talking about true evangelism where the gospel is proclaimed and people are called to repent)?  Where is the weeping for the lost?  Where is the passion for the gospel to be preached, obeyed, lived, taught, and preached in the world?

Where are the elders in the church of God who will be serious about Christ?  Where are the elders who can faithfully fulfill 1 Timothy 3:1-7?  Where are the elders who obey 1 Peter 5:1-5?  Where are the elders who obey Hebrews 13:7, 17?  Oh God, give us men of God!

What you are winning people to is not the Word of God.  It is not to the Lordship of Christ.  It is not to the glory of God.  It is not to the exaltation of the gospel.  It is pure pragmatism and it is producing countless false converts who do not begin to know the truth of the Word of God nor of God’s salvation in His beloved Son (Matthew 7:21-23; Titus 1:16; 2 John 8-9).

I urge you my seeker, pragmatic lead pastor of such and such community church: repent and cry out to this generation that they must repent or they will face the holy wrath of God (John 3:36; Hebrews 12:29). Rise up and shake off the chains of religion, of man-made traditions that rob God of His glory (Mark 7:1-13).  Rise up and get on your face and cry out to God for Him to be glorified in you even if He takes away all your fame and fortune you have accumulated from your seeker church.  Rise up and pray like never before, like your Master whom you say you love and adore (Luke 11:1).  Rise up and be holy as He is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Rise up and preach the Word of God verse by verse, line upon line (2 Timothy 4:1-6).  Warn this generation of the coming judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27-28) and warn them that their only hope is not found in this world nor in chasing the flesh but in Jesus Christ alone (1 Timothy 2:1-6).

May God be glorified in His holy Church (Ephesians 3:20-21).

Written by The Seeking Disciple

05/12/2014 at 11:00 AM

Interceding For Revival

We live in an ungodly, wicked age.  This is much like the age that Paul spoke of in 1 Timothy 4:1 or 2 Timothy 3:1-5.  It is a wicked age.  Thankfully we have two truths that the disciple of Jesus can cling to: one is the fact that God is sovereign and He is in control (Psalm 115:3).  Secondly, God has promised that where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20).

I believe that in this dark hour, we can pray for revival.  We should weep and cry out to God for revival.  Revival makes things right.  Revival brings in the glory of God.  Revival convicts the unconverted in our churches and awakens the lukewarm.  Revival gives the Church of Christ a passion for the lost who so need Jesus (Matthew 9:38; Luke 10:2).  When we begin to pray for the lost (Romans 10:1), the Holy Spirit often will break our hearts for our own lack of evangelism (Mark 16:15).  We begin to see that sinners need the gospel.  Sinners don’t need entertainment, they need the gospel.  Revival sweeps away the desire to entertain the masses but instead focuses us on the truth that all sinners will go to hell apart from the gospel.  We begin to cry Acts 17:30-31 to the lost.

In 1 Timothy 2:1-2 we read:

First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

Why are we to pray for these sinners in verses 1-2?  We read the answer in 1 Timothy 2:3-6:

3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, 4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.

The obvious reason for the intercession of verses 1-2 is for the salvation of souls which pleases God in verses 3-6.  Intercession for revival will spur us to pray for the lost.  We see that Jesus alone is the only way to God (John 14:6) and we see that apart from Him, we have no life (John 15:1-11).  We see that people must repent and must embrace Jesus as Lord to be saved (Romans 10:9-10, 13).  As we pray for revival, the Lord breaks our hearts for the lost.

True revival is what we need now.  What will save the adulterer?  What will save the rapist?  What will save the liar?  What will save the religious hypocrite?  What will save the homosexual?  The answer is revival because the revival will send forth the Church of Jesus Christ will go forth to preach the gospel from the power of the Holy Spirit.  Revival awakens the saints of God to the riches we have in Christ Jesus and gives us a passion to preach the gospel to the lost.  Revival will turn the tide of sin and will turn sinners to the King who alone saves (John 6:35).

Oh God send us revival!  Restore Your glory to Your Church and allow the gospel to go forth in the power of the Spirit!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/27/2013 at 10:13 AM

The Hunger for Revival

From time to time my mind drifts back to the 1990’s when I first got saved and when it seemed everywhere I went, people were talking about revival.  I remember the Bible teacher that I sat under those early days of my salvation would often weep over the need for revival.  He would talk about the great revivals of Church history and then he would weep over the lack of revival in our day.  I remember hearing men of God like David Wilkerson or Leonard Ravenhill speaking on revival and how we needed a move of God.  We believed, in those days, that revival would make things right.

In 1995 Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida begin to say that revival had come.  On Father’s Day, evangelist Steve Hill preached to the large Assembly of God church and revival services began.  The revival would continue night after night from 1995 to about 2000.  The revival would slow and finally ended in 2002.  I visited Brownsville Assembly of God three times.  I first went in August of 1996 but I admit I went with a critical spirit.  Myself and a friend of mine attended for a week in August, 1996 and while I was not 100% on board with the revival, I did see many good things.  The gospel was preached with a cry to repentance.  Prayer was powerful.  The hunger for the presence of God was intense.  There were bizarre physical manifestations and there were folks there for experiences instead of hungering for Christ but I walked away believing that there was much good going on at Brownsville despite the claims of the detractors who hated the revival.  It was there also that I met Dr. Michael Brown for the first time and I was impressed with his knowledge and his zeal for the Lord.

I visited Brownsville two more times with teenagers in 1997 and in 2002.  By the time we came in 2002, the atmosphere had changed dramatically and the revival was nearly over.  Dr. Brown had left to start the Fire School of Ministry in Concord, NC and the revival days were over.

What I miss about all this is not the excess flesh.  I miss the passion for God.  I miss seeing teenagers crammed into a building on Thursday nights for the youth service and hearing brother Richard Crisco preaching the Word of God.  I miss the prayer meeting on Tuesday night that was packed with intercessors crying out to the Lord.  I miss the worship of God that filled your heart with joy.  I miss hearing of revivals breaking out in other places from Brownsville.  I do admit that not all of the revival was correct.  After all, we are talking about a revival among fallen flesh.  There is no such thing as a perfect revival.  Every revival will feature things that we don’t like or approve.  Thankfully God uses fallen people despite our sins and errors.

I can’t remember the last time I heard someone speak of being hungry for revival.  Gone are the days of Ravenhill or Wilkerson I fear.  Where is the hunger for God’s presence?  Where is the passion for God in prayer?  Where are the thousands of intercessors who would shut themselves in a room for a night of seeking God?  Brownsville was not perfect but I miss the passion.  I miss the zeal.  I miss the joy of the Lord in singing praises to our King.  I miss the reports of souls getting saved.  I miss the Friday night baptisms.  I miss the hunger for the Holy Spirit to be fully active in our lives.

Oh where are those who hunger for revival?  Oh God send the fire (Acts 2:17)!

For more information on Brownsville Assembly of God check out this article.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

04/12/2013 at 7:27 PM

What Does This Have To Do With The Gospel?

I am not much on Christian music and its sad when my son’s picture Bible has deeper theology in it than “family friendly” radio does but I do try, at times, to listen to Christian radio hoping and praying that God will send a move of His Spirit upon them and they return to being passionate for souls and for the glory of God (Acts 3:19).  However, I heard two songs back to back yesterday and asked the question at the end of both of them, “What in the world were they singing about and what does these songs have to do with the gospel?”  Perhaps someone out there can explain the songs to me because frankly they made no sense to me.  If you had told me they were about dating or about loving someone other than God, I would have said okay but my guess is that since they were being played on “family friendly” radio they are supposed to be about the Lord.

You can find the songs here and here.

The problem with “Christian music” is that its an inch deep and an inch wide as well.  It’s just not good to me.  Gone is the passion of a Keith Green or the passionate singing of a Second Chapter of Acts.  Where is the zeal for souls like we saw in Steve Camp or in Love Song?  Where is the theology?  We have moved from loving and fearing God to dating God.

I do pray that Christian radio would move from “family friendly” to “God-fearing.”  I pray that a zeal for God and His glory would sweep Nashville and clean out the so-called Christian music industry.  Is there not a part of the Church that doesn’t need a touch from God?  Oh how we need to pray for revival!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

07/23/2011 at 10:36 AM

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