The Key to Revival

key to revival

Our greatest enemy as Christ followers is our pride and our self-sufficiency. As we follow Christ we are to follow His example of humility. We are also to follow His example in laying our lives down in exchange for His. As we follow Christ we trade a life of pride for a lifestyle of lowliness and humility.

“For this is what the high and exalted One says– he who lives forever, whose name is holy: “I live in a high and holy place, but also with the one who is contrite and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15

The word contrite in the verse above comes from the hebrew word “daka” which means to be crushed. Through the prophet Isaiah God tells us in this verse about how He not only is in a high and exalted place (heaven) but that He is also drawn to those who are “daka” or crushed. In talking about Christ Isaiah also says in an earlier passage, “He was crushed for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5). We see that Jesus chose to allow himself to be crushed for us. I believe that we are also called to lay down our own lives and allow our pride to be crushed before Him.

What I find so cool about this verse is that it comes with a really powerful promise about God’s nature. He tells us at the end of this verse that He will revive those who are humble and have allowed themselves to be crushed (those who are contrite). We have a promise in this verse of revival. The only condition of this promise is that we humble ourselves and crush our pride. As we do this in faith then God promises that our hearts and lives will be forever changed.

Revival comes in response to humble saints. Revival comes as God draws near to those who have crushed their pride and have come to Him in humility and brokenness. God longs to send revival and He is simply waiting for us to crush our pride and humble ourselves before Him!

The word revive in the verse above is used over 250 times in the old testament. It is the hebrew word “chayah” which means: to live, restored, revived, to be restored to life and to live prosperously. When God promised to revive us in response to our brokenness then He promised to bring us into a life where our soul is prosperous. This same hebrew word is used over and over again in the OT when talking about genealogies. For examples it is used a lot of times when talking about how someone “begot” another in a list of family lineages. It is a word that ultimately means to create life. When we pick up our cross and lay down our lives then God promises to birth something new inside of us. 

“Christ’s love controls us. Since we believe that Christ died for all, we also believe that we have all died to our old life. He died for everyone so that those who receive his new life will no longer live for themselves.” 2 Cor 5:14-15

God is looking for a generation who will humble themselves, seek His face, turn from their sin so that He can bring healing and restoration. He is looking for a generation who will become broken and humble sot hat He can birth something new inside of them. He longs for a humble church whom He can use to birth revival. If we want revival then we need to ask God for humility and brokenness. Revival is coming but only in response to our humility. Revival is coming as we crush our pride and choose to totally depend on our God. Humility is the KEY to revival in the Church. 

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“Let me hold you…”

When my son was really small he constantly wanted to be held by me. As he has gotten older each year he has become more and more self-reliant and now at almost 7 it is nearly impossible to get him to sit still on my lap for more than a few seconds! I remember how much I loved being able to hold him and just be near him when he was a little baby. Now that he is bigger I don’t necessarily want to hold him quite as long (mainly because he ways over 50 pounds now) but I do still want to hold him every now and then. Lately if I get to hold him it is usually when I carry him inside after he has fallen asleep in the car. After I carry him inside I will usually just sit and cherish the few moments that I have to hold him. 

This past week I was reminded by the Lord that a lot of times I get really busy and hyperactive with everything going on in my life. He showed me how in so many ways I act just like my son and can’t seem to sit still when I am in His presence. I feel the constant urgency to get up, do something, write a reminder, check my Facebook or email. I have to constantly be doing something or else I feel almost anxious. He has been reminding me of how much He longs for the moments each day when I can just simply stop and be near him.

The love I have for my son is but a weak reflection of God’s unlimited love and passion for all His kids. He doesn’t want to hold us out of need to feel loved but rather because He is so FULL of love he can’t wait to express it to us…Image

Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!
1 John 3:1

The word “Behold” in the greek is one that means to look at something, to know something or to experience something. We don’t just get to read about, hear about and talk a lot about the amazing love that the Father has for each of us but we can actually encounter this love. We have the ability to literally experience His love when we are willing to simply just take the time to “behold” this amazing love He has for us. One way that we can encounter His love is by taking time to get away from everything and everyone to just let him pour out His love on us. We behold the love of our Perfect Father when we give him the time to hold us. 

A loving father who cannot wait to express his love would not limit himself to a letter, a messenger or a reminder of what he has done in the past. He would long to express his love in a real and tangible way in that very moment. He would desire to say it himself and to use his hugs and kisses to remind his children how dear they are to him. Our Father longs for us to know His love each and every day in a very personal way. He longs to pour out His love but so many times we are too distracted, busy or pacified by false intimacy. 

Just as a good dad wants to affirm his kids by physical touch, gifts and personal time of fun, so does our Heavenly Father long to remind us of His love. Our Father longs to do even greater things than even the best dad on earth desires to do for his own children. We have an amazing Father in Heaven who is in a great mood. Because of the blood of Jesus we are no longer enemies but can truly be called Children of God. 

How can you stop and let the Father hold you today?

Leading out of Exile – 3 Lessons from Great Leaders

The first great return of Israel back to the promised land from Persia is an amazing story of redemption. The story of the return from exile is split into three different waves of return and has three primary leaders that lead each wave. Today the Lord brought me to the book of Ezra and Nehemiah and showed me a few things that I really thought were important for all leaders to remember. Everyone is in a place of leadership over others or in a place that they somehow influence others. Leadership is not always a matter of a title but simply impacting the lives that are naturally around you. Everyone is a leader in some way.

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1. Don’t try to do it alone

The first wave of the Hebrew nation had returned to Jerusalem and as they began to rebuild the foundation of the temple. In Ezra 3:9 it says that many of them “joined together” to help supervise all the work that had to be done. It’s important to remember that whatever God has called us to do will always require that we partner with others. There are no lone-rangers in the Kingdom. Instead God disperses the gift in various people throughout His body so that we learn to work together.  When we come together in unity to build the Kingdom, the unbelieving world sees Christ in us and God is glorified by the accomplishment of not one man or ministry. We can’t do it alone and need the support of others.

2. Devote yourself to the Lord

The second wave of Israelites had arrived in Jerusalem and Ezra comes onto the scene in Ezra 7. Ezra was known as a man with great favor from the Lord and it is even said, “the gracious hand of his God was on him.” The source of all of this favor and blessing is revealed in Ezra 7:10. Ezra was a man devoted to studying the Word of God. He was a man of deep devotion and commitment to the Lord. It can be safe to assume that from the way verse 10 is written that the favor on his life was a direct result of the great devotion he had for the law of the Lord. As leaders we desperately need God’s favor and blessing on us in order to attain the God-sized goals he has placed in our hearts. We need to be known as people that are fully committed and devoted to Jesus who is the Word of God (Jn 1:1). This devotion is the key to our success. If we want to see the realization of our dreams then we need to be pursuing God with reckless abandon and studying His word day and night.

3. Stand up for Justice

Nehemiah was the leader that brought the 3rd and final wave of Israelites back into their promised land. He helped to rebuild the walls of the city and stood in the face of much opposition. As leaders we can all expect opposition. Leaders exist because the current situation or condition needs to change in some way. Leaders are meant to take things somewhere new, which can sometimes be scary. Leaders also must be prepared to stand up and confront situations that are unacceptable. We can’t be scared to face confrontation. In Nehemiah 5:9-13 you can see a story of Nehemiah standing up for an injustice that was being done to the people of Israel. This was probably not a comfortable situation for him to confront but he knew that he had to do something. As we lead we may see things that are in desperate need of change. We may have to confront a person or a group of people about this which can cause a lot of discomfort. We as leaders need to have the courage to stand up for justice and confront event the hardest issues.

There are many more examples that can be found from the leaders in these two books but I just wanted to take time to mention three important ones the Lord has shown me. I would highly recommend reading these two books looking for insight into being a better leader. The Lord has given us an amazing instructional manual in His Word to help us become the leaders he is calling us to be.

Out of these three examples, what’s the one that you struggle with the most?

Reaching your Kingdom Potential

In our life we are always growing in the Lord and never reach a point of complete arrival. There are always more good things about God that we will spend an eternity taking time to discover. In this life we will always battle our flesh and the enemy that will assault our identity and who God says that we are. We will always be practicing, growing and operating in the gifts that He has given us. This process of growing is marked by four main things that we must go through to really see the full potential of what God is trying to do in our lives. Information leads to revelation which will start our transformation that enables and ignites us to make God’s Kingdom manifest here on earth.

1. Information

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We first begin by learning through reading the Bible, books or by having someone teach us. This information is something that we can gain just like things that we would naturally learn like a language or a skill. I have heard it said, “Discipleship is a lot like learning a new language”. If you have ever tried really learning a new language you realize how hard that actually is. You have to be immersed in an environment where that language is used and be intentional about studying it. We have to do the same as followers of Christ. We need to immerse ourselves in teachings and new knowledge that can help us really learn this way of living a Kingdom Life.

2. Revelation

A lot of people get to information and never move past there in the Body of Christ. Many will settle with a head full of knowledge but never pursue the revelation that God wants to offer to those that are truly hungry and thirsty for the deeper things that he has to offer. One of the greatest ways to allow God to turn information into revelation is through the spiritual discipline of prayer and fasting. “Fasting turns your life into a landing strip for revelation.” This is the place where we go from a simple knowledge of the truths in the Gospel and move into a deepened heart understanding.

3. Transformation Image

Once we allow the Lord to give us his information that leads to revelation our lives start to be RADICALLY transformed. Everything changes when the Word begins to come alive and God really begins to reveal His character and his great love for each of us. This revelation of His love changes not only who we are but also what we desire. Once we begin to let the Lord give us revelation and begin to experience true freedom and transformation we start to experience an overwhelming hunger for more. When we get a taste of this revelation our desires change which leads to the great transformation that empowers us to really represent Christ to the world around us.

4. Demonstration 

In John 10:1 Jesus calls his disciples and gives them authority. This represents the process of them discovering their identity and the authority that they possess before they were released to minister. They were told to go out and heal the sick and cast out demons. Jesus took them through a process of giving them information, revelation and they were radically transformed. The next thing the disciples did is they went out and operated in the authority that Jesus had given them. This same thing is what happens when we allow the Lord to take us through this process. We begin to realize that all of this transformation, revelation and information is not meant for us. Jesus has entrusted us with these things so that we not only give a presentation of the Gospel in our lives but we also give a demonstration. He has given us these amazing things not for us but for the world. This process is how He plans to equip us to really see the fulfillment of the great commission and ultimately usher in the 2nd coming of Christ. We are empowered by this process to become world changers and difference makers as sons and daughters of the Most High King and to do Kingdom business wherever God leads us.

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22 But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. 23 For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; 24 for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. 25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-23