Archive for August, 2010

Better Than “Revival”

Is “Revival” Overrated?

It’s an integral part of the Protestant culture and story. “Revival” is the spark of excitement after a long patch of dull “business-as-usual” church life. It’s a cycle that plays out over and over again in recent history in the West. Revivals usually don’t last long (less than a generation) and are usually gone within about a decade.

Revival creates a positive peak in a sort of “sine wave” of church activity. After many years of stagnation, the church explodes in a flurry of excitement and activity. In some revivals, the church engages its community and culture in a meaningful and redemptive way. Then, it slides back into its semi-conscious prior state.

This same pattern appears in the Bible in the book of Judges. Israel soars to ecstatic heights of prosperity and close communion with God. Then they forget these practices and spiral down to crisis. Next, they cry out to God. A leader is sent and they get back to the things they were doing at the peak. Then, after a little time goes by, they spiral back down into crisis, and so it goes. And I have to ask, is this what God had in mind? I think not.

God meant for us to be a light in the word. I don’t think he had a blinking light in mind when He said this. We have been equipped for constant and continuous service. Discipleship is not part time, or when we feel inspired, it is the source of our inspiration and our constant desire. In it, we transform ourselves and the world. Living out Christ in the community is not something you have to wait for. It’s something that you get to do all the time with all the creativity, fun and heart you can put into it.

You don’t have to wait for some fire-brand pastor or evangelist to lead you into this. Your leader is the Son of God Himself, and He has given all of us what we need. We can do far better than “revival.”  We are the people we have been waiting for.

Take a look at the following passages and think this over:

We were made to do good things

Look at Ephesians 2:1-8 (emphasis and conclusion on vs. 8.)

He Gave Us Everything We Need

There are many passages about this, but Check out 2Peter 1:1-15. The practice of discipleship is progressive and transformative. Everything you need, you have.

I know for a lot of us this is tough to believe, but practice these thing and you will begin to see what these passages mean.

Practice Makes Permanent

It’s not the teaching that you get, It’s what you do with it that makes a difference. You learn by practice. Look at Hebrews 5:11-6:3. This is a bit of a rebuke from the writer to his readers. Look for the emphasis in 5:14. No matter how good the teaching, you only learn and mature through practice of what you are taught.

Disclaimer

Do not look for personal guilt or failure when you explore these passages. This is about what you were re-born for. It’s yours, and you get to do this. Forget the “dead works” and get into the good stuff.

If we all practice discipleship together, gifting each other and the world with actions based on God’s kind intentions we  can do much better than the revival “spasms” of the past. We will create massive Jesus movements bringing hope, kindness, reconciliation and rescue. And we can start right here and right now.

From Neil Cole

How do you spell faith? R-I-S-K. You simply cannot live a vibrant life of faith in a safe and protected place.

From Neil Cole’s Search and Rescue: Becoming a Disciple Who Make A Difference.

What is faith without risk? (O.P.)