Dear Brothers & Sisters @ New City,
I have not been sleeping too well in the past week, thinking much about where we are spiritually as a church. A number of things had brought me concerns over our spiritual health. Then last night, I read a couple of articles on revival, and it did not take me long to realize that it (revival) is the very thing we are desperately in need of…
In the end, revival is but a “radical return to the Gospel.”
When revival comes, non-believers come to faith. When revival comes, nominal (and unconverted) Christians become so convicted of their sins that they bow down before God for mercy. When revival comes, the “sleepy” believers awake from their slumber and weep over their spiritual stubbornness and complacency. When revival comes, believers become so “warmed up by the Gospel” that they are compelled to live God-centered and Gospel-centered lives!
Imagine what our church will be like when revival comes. Sins and self-righteousness are confessed and repented of. Christ is exalted and glorified. Gospel relationships are formed. Conversations turn from the things of this world to things of the eternal world. Lives are transformed and re-dedicated to King Jesus and His kingdom. Christians, young and old, are confronted with both the holiness of God and the love of God. Subsequently, we become fearers of God but also lovers of God. This is what revival looks like, yet we hardly experience it in our daily experience. How sad this is?!
Thus we must pray for revival, and we know it is the will of God to seek His kingdom and His power.
This morning, I was cleaning my car out of a thick layer of ice. I turned the car on, got it running for 10-15 minutes, with the hope that the ice would melt away. But no, it would not. The layer of ice was so hard and thick that it was not enough to just warm up the car. No, I must break the ice, crack it into small pieces, before the heat of the car could melt the rest of the ice.
Now I suspect this is what it would take for revival to come to some of us. The Lord must break us and crack us. He must remove the thick layer of spiritual resistance and self-righteousness before the heat of the Gospel can melt our hearts! I don’t know how this may happen, but I pray this day that God would grant us — all of us — revival no matter what it takes.
So dear brothers and sisters, I want you to know that I am praying for you that there may be a “radical return to the Gospel” for each and everyone of us. And I pray that you would join me in praying for revival also. Pray for yourselves, pray for your shepherds, pray for other brothers and sisters. Pray for churches in Philadelphia, pray for churches in China, and pray for churches all over the world. Pray for revival. Pray that “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.” (Habakkuk 2:14)
This day, I feel helpless and inadequate as a weak shepherd of God’s flock. I am at a loss of what I can do. And I pray that I would stay this way — stay in my weakness, that I would not resort to doing more but to praying and holding on to Jesus!