Day 1: The Scent of Revival
January 30, 2017
Day 3: Person-Driven Hope
February 1, 2017
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It happened several years ago while I was speaking at a church in Rochester, New York. The topic was church revival. I launched into a carefully orchestrated outline of Scripture, complete with historical context, personal observations, and supportive media on how a new, emerging spiritual awakening in the United States was real and imminent. After forty-five minutes, I finally took my first breath and offered to answer any questions they might have. One woman raised her hand and then asked the question everyone was thinking, yet did not dare to ask. “Tom, I appreciate what you’ve said so far about the need for spiritual renewal in our country. I believe God has poured out His Spirit in extraordinary ways on different people at different points in history. I just don’t buy the idea that we’re in one of those times. And I’ll tell you why. “When I look around me, I see so much darkness. Families are divorcing. Young people are being ripped apart by drugs, sex, and drive-by shootings. The neighborhood, the city, the country I grew up in just doesn’t exist anymore. Face it, you don’t see people smile as much as they used to. Look at our world. It’s filled with angry drivers, ugly graffiti, and one major world disaster after another. That’s why, if you’re talking about the possibility of spiritual renewal, well, it’s just wishful thinking, if you ask me. How can spiritual awakening be anything more when the one thing Christians can’t wait to get home for after Sunday service isn’t to pray or study God’s Word but to worship the Dallas Cowboys?”

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see people nodding their heads. Perhaps, the same way you’re nodding “yes” right now. The early signs of a Jesus-Now Awakening in our country are mere pinpoints of light in a darkening landscape; these are pinpoints of light that can be seen only when everything else is black— pinpoints of light whose gleaming presence is a brilliant reminder that darkness has never been able to overcome light. This is how I believe the coming spiritual awakening will occur, by defining the lines of darkness and light. The contrasts will be so sharp, the evidence of the Lord so clear, that no world leader, no movement, no organization or coalition will be able to take credit for such an obvious spiritual transformation. Like people lost in a cave surrounded by darkness, we will know that there can only be one explanation: God Himself.

 John 1:5 New King James Version (NKJV)
And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

 John 8:12 New King James Version (NKJV)
12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”

1 John 1:5-9 New King James Version (NKJV)
Fellowship with Him and One Another
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

Psalm 27:1 New King James Version (NKJV)
An Exuberant Declaration of Faith
A Psalm of David.
1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?

 

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Phillips, Tom (2016-11-01). Jesus Now: God Is Up to Something Big (Chapter 2 p. 45-50). BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC.

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