I am thankful that Jesus allowed me the experience of preaching a revival through the invitation of my good friend, Pastor Tim Edin. Although I’m sure the experience would be different in different places, I picture it being very similar in most small rural churches that have revivals. I spent the last 4 nights preaching a still relevant, still applicable, still life-changing, still soul-saving Gospel to a group of three churches.
A well-known preacher from the 1800’s one time was asked how many people were “saved” at one of the revivals at which he preached. (It was common for hundreds of people to come to the altar at those revivals.) He said, “I’ll let you know in a few years.” What he meant was that saying a prayer at an altar over an emotional sermon, story, or song does not a disciple make. What makes a disciple, how we know we’ve been born again, is by our actions, by our changed lives. If nothing changes in our lives, chances are it was just an emotional, feel good moment – sort of like going on vacation. It was great while it lasted, but then it’s back to the normal routine, back to the daily grind, and nothing changes. Jesus isn’t interested in that and I wasn’t interested in that. I didn’t feel called to simply preach emotional sermons just to get them to cry and come to the altar.
The Good News of Jesus Christ has always been about change: Changing individuals who would then go and tell and do for the least and the lost thereby helping them realize their own relationship with Jesus and witnessing them change. Most of the people at the revival the last 4 nights didn’t need more information, especially not from me. Most of them have more Scripture memorized and know the Bible better than I do. They simply needed to be reminded. There are times we all need to be reminded. That’s what I saw as my purpose for going to speak with those congregations. Rather than calling it revival, we should have called it remind-all.
- Remind all that we are only saved by the grace of God and we don’t/didn’t deserve it.
- Remind all that we are not better than the alcoholic, the addict, the prisoner, people of different color, people of different ethnicity, or anyone else.
- Remind all that Jesus called the “religious” people a “brood of vipers” (that’s a quote!), and showed love to the lame, the lepers, the disenfranchised, and others society and the religious people looked down upon (including women and children).
- Remind all that actions speak louder than words. We can tell people Jesus loves them, but they will often not believe it until we show them.
Some people don’t want to be reminded of those things. But people who really love Jesus and want to please Him are thankful to be reminded. Time will tell if anyone else was revived over the last 4 nights, but I am thankful I was.