As I sit down today to try to catch up with ministry thank you & encouragement notes (an attempt that I am forever behind on) I cannot help but realize how hard this is. This process is a hard one simply due to the amount of notes I would love to send combined with a lack of time and energy required for writing all the people who have, are, and continually impacting my life in ministry. There are so many around me that are growing in their walks with Christ & being used as the hands and feet of Jesus that it is hard not to think about the words of Paul to the Hebrews.
19 Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, 20 by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, 21 and since we have a great priest over the house of God, 22 let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful.
24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
These Scriptures are an encouragement to me & I strive to fulfill them in the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. I have also seen how these Scriptures ring true in our culture today. There are so many around us that simply need a kind word of encouragement in life & in faith.
I would like to exhort you today as Paul did the Hebrews to encourage someone you know in the faith. Tell them how great they are doing. Tell them how their walk has affected your life. Tell them how their sacrifice is worth it and how it is building the Kingdom of the Lord.
It will not take too long.
Who will you encourage today?
After recently coming back from preaching a revival and then finishing a revival at my home church, I have had a few ideas run through my head on preparing for a revival. I have preached and participated in several revivals in the past and feel qualified to quickly spot whether a revival is going to be a success or not. What I have found is that a revival is thrive or dive depending on the preparation of the host church. As anyone who has been a part of a revival in the past knows, we are no longer in the era of the Billy Graham Crusades when hundreds would come out of the wood work to attend a revival. Therefore, the church must be prepared to reach out in order to reach their communities for Christ. Below I have compiled a short outline for pastors preparing for revival at their church in the hopes that it can be a great success and many will come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.
Prayer is obviously the most important thing when preparing for revival. Without the Lord’s hand, nothing will happen. Therefore we must lead our congregations to pray for the revival that is to come. Consider using a prayer guide or book mark in the weeks leading up to the revival. Make sure that the revival is at the fore front of the prayer meeting and every one is joined together in praying for the services.
- Pray for the Lord’s presence
- Pray for the speaker
- Pray for the musician
- Pray for the preparation
- Pray for the invitations that will be given in the community
- Pray for new life and renewed vigor for the church members
- Pray for new life and salvation for the lost who will attend
- Pray for protection from the enemy
Planning is a HUGE part of the revival preparation as well. One of the saddest things to see at a revival is when the attendance dives in the middle of the revival. So ask yourself,”How will we build excitement every night?”, “What can I do to give my members a reason to invite their friends?”, “How can I make it easy for my members to invite the community?”
- Raffle Drawings - In some contexts having a raffle is a good idea.
- Evening Events – Theme nights can also be fun. “Sundaes on Sunday”, “Dunk-A-Deacon”, “Battle of the Sexes Night”, “Pack-A-Pew Night” There are more than can be named here. Just get creative and think outside of the box.
- Daily Invitations – What tool can you provide your people to make it easy to invite others they know? Post cards, Invite cards, what?
- Spontaneous Invitation – How can you make it easy for your people to invite those they run into in the community?
Marketing is a big part of today’s world and the church should be jumping in to engage those in the world. Don’t plan a revival only for your church members but use it as an opportunity to reach you community with the gospel message. Here are few basic and relatively in expensive ways to mass market to your community.
- Flyers / Posters / Invite Cards
- Banners In front of your church and around town
- Direct Mail Out
- Local News Paper Ad.
- Local Radio Ad.
- Social Media Campaign - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Etc.
Move! That’s Right! Get Out There & Beat The Bushes! Sense you are prayed up and prepared, hit the pavement and see what God will do with you and your people. You will be amazed at how your community will respond with a simple invitation to church.
- Door-to-Door Campaign
- Invite Your Neighbor Campaign
- Paper the town Campaign
Now, I know this is not a comprehensive list and I am still fleshing out my thoughts on some of this but it is a start.
In fact, if you have some other ideas on how to prepare your church for a revival, I would love to hear about them. Simply comment below.
Personal Reflection from the Reading
Nathan Lorick, Director of Evangelism for the SBTC visited our local association a few months back and gave out this wonderful little resource to our local pastors and for that I am very appreciative. In his book Dying to Grow, Lorick dives into the struggles of the local church to share the gospel and what evangelism looks like for the local church.
Lorick begins his work with diagnosing one of the major heart issues of the church. This is accomplished through describing the apathy that has grown in regards to sharing the good news of the gospel by church members and church leadership in Southern Baptist churches. Lorick then takes the reader through some correction action for heart change and ends the book with some practical application for every church to reach the lost in their context.
This short book is packed with sixteen chapters of great information on evangelism for members and pastors. In my opinion, Dying to Grow should be in the library of every pastor of an SBC church. This resource will ask some of the hard questions that must be asked when leading a congregation on mission to seek and save the lost, and will give the guidance to help implement a much needed evangelism strategy in your church. I am grateful for Nathan Lorick’s work with this book and I am praying for his continued mission after the lost with the SBTC.
I am in no way affiliated with Nathan Lorick or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.
Personal Reflection from the Reading
I am a church member by Thom Rainer is written to address the unbiblical trends that run rampant in today’s churches. Equipped with engaging stories from his past experiences as a pastor and his times serving as president of Lifeway, Dr. Rainer confronts these issues head on with easy and practical understanding. Dr. Rainer’s motivation for writing this book is to strengthen the church through strengthening it’s members with a real understanding of the responsibilities of being a church member.
Dr. Rainer should be commended for his work on this book and his efforts to drive every point back to the Bible. Because the Scripture is not entirely clear on the responsibilities of church membership, this is not an easy task. I found that in most cases Dr. Rainer took general commands for every Christian (I.E.- to love one another) and applies them to a membership context (I.E.-to love the members of the church). Although this is not exactly what the New Testament writers were driving toward in their writing, application of the Scriptures to life is important regardless of context.
In my opinion, I am a church member should be in the library of every church member and pastor. If our church members today would apply even half of the principles mentioned in this book, the church would take a huge step in faithfulness and see the growth from it.
I am in no way affiliated with Thom Rainer or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.
Personal Reflection from the Reading
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart; How to know for sure you are saved. by J.D. Greear is a wonderful book for those that are working through having assurance of salvation. Greear knows the struggles that many face when they question their salvation from first hand experience and he shares his own struggles from the very first chapter of the book. I am sure that many who read this book will be comforted by his testimony as a Pastor who has struggled with his faith. Because Greear has this personal experience, he is able to explain with great confidence how a person can have confidence to stand firm on what Jesus has done for them.
Although I have not really dealt with this personally, I can see from a pastor’s point of view how this book is incredibly helpful in ministry. The book is chock-full of helpful illustrations and explanations that will help others to understand what it means to abide in Christ as Christians are commanded to do. (John 15:5) For this point alone, I would encourage anyone to read this book and be encouraged through the words of Pastor Greear as he explains what the Lord has done.
I am in no way affiliated with J.D.Greear or his publishing company. These are my views and my views alone on his writing. If the writer or publishing co. has an issue with this blog, notify me and I will remove it.
(Reading Outline Below)
Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart; How to know for sure you are saved. J.D. Greear
- Baptized Four Times
- J.D.’s struggle with his own salvation
- The false assumption of eternal security
- The assumptions made from the cliché “asking Jesus into my heart”
- What he is NOT saying; Asking Jesus into your heart is heretical, We should not press for a decision when witnessing
- Does God Even Want Us to Have Assurance
- God wants us to have security of salvation through his love (your spiritual life will never really take off until you have assurance of your salvation)
- We are to have reckless obedience – You will never be able to say no to sin until you understand the “yes” you have been given through Christ
- We are God’s Children, Spouse, & Friend
- The Damnable Doctrine of Doubt; God is not simply interested in your obedience, He is interested in your desire & How can we find assurance of salvation? Trust in his testimony of eternal life, Trust in His work within us.
- Jesus In My Place
- John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe in the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” > 2 types of people mentioned; Those who believe and those who don’t. No middle ground.
- We must admit that we are sinners before God and we cannot receive salvation by our own worth or merits
- Jesus is the high priest who became for us what we deserve while we receive from him what we do not deserve
- What Is Belief?
- Real belief entails belief in action.
- Biblical belief is a new posture towards God. Just because we prayed a prayer does not mean that we assumed the new posture.
- Reducing Salvation to Ceremony - Doubt will always arise if you look to a ceremony for your salvation. You must look to Jesus who is the author and perfector of our faith. Comfort can also be found in our current posture toward God. Are we in a state of repentance and belief?
- Present Posture Is Better Proof than a Past Memory - If you are seated right now (repenting and believing), there was a point in time in which you sat down (repented and believed for salvation). You may not remember the specific time but your actions reveal that you did.
- Salvation was obtained by simply resting on two “facts” God had promised about Jesus; He was crucified as the payment for sins, He was resurrected as proof that God accepted His sacrifice as payment.
- Do not try to find assurance in a prayer you prayed in the past. Find assurance in what Jesus did in the past. It is the relationship to Christ, which saves, not the prayer that signified the beginning of that relationship.
- Leading Children to Jesus; do not urge them to make a decision for Christ. Urge them to take a submissive posture to Christ as Lord. Do not seek a specific answer to a question.
- Salvation is Impossible Unless You Believe Salvation is By Faith Alone – If your salvation relies on what you can or should do, there will never be enough done to be satisfied.
- Faith that looks anywhere else but Christ will not find assurance but incessant doubt.
- What Is Repentance?
- When we come to Jesus, nothing can be off limits. We cannot come with preconditions or limitations. To possess eternal life, we must be willing to let everything else go. We do not approach Jesus to negotiate eternal life; we approach him in total surrender.
- C.S. Lewis “We don’t come to him as bad people trying to become good people; we come as rebels to lay down our arms.”
- We can place nothing else before Jesus. We must be so committed to Him that by comparison even our most intimate relationships look like hate.
- What Repentance is not; Simply praying a sinners prayer, Feeling sorry about our sins, Confession of sins, Getting religious, Partial surrender, or Perfection.
- What repentance Is; Repentance is acknowledging that Jesus is Lord of everything as a matter of who He is. Whatever your disagreement with Jesus, He is right and you are wrong. This does not mean that there is no struggle in repentance. When those who believe the gospel fall, they renew their posture of repentance, re-embrace the gift-righteousness of Christ, thank God for the promise of victory, and get back up. Those who do not believe the gospel wallow in their failure. They soar with pride when they are doing well; but plunge into despair when they falter. Faith is not the absence of doubt; it is continuing to follow Jesus in the midst of doubt. Repentance ushers us into a life of greater struggle, not out of one. The struggle is proof of a new nature. Repentance is not just stopping sin; but following Jesus.
- Changes in desire – Many people feel the pull of God on their hearts and resist it, and Jesus places the blame for that squarely upon their shoulders.
- If “Once Saved, Always Saved,” Why Does the Bible Seem to Warn Us So Often about Losing Our Salvation?
- Salvation is not a one time decision but conditional upon our continued obedience. By persevering through tribulations, they enter the Kingdom of God. (Acts 14:22)
- Warnings ought to be taken at face value; however, if we fall away, we will not be saved in the end. But since those who are truly saved can never lose it, we must conclude that a failure to heed the warnings demonstrates that we never possessed true saving faith to begin with. These warnings help us not to take God’s grace for granted. A true believer will never be lost, but a true believer will never stop following Jesus.
- The Bible never tells us to analyze the wickedness of our or anyone’s hearts or to speculate about God’s electing providence. It simply commands us to repent. “If you hear God’s voice,” the writer of Hebrews says, “obey today.”
- The Real Doctrine of Eternal Security - Wayne Grudem “The perseverance of the saints means that all those who are truly born again will be kept by God’s power and will persevere as Christians until the end of their lives, and that only those who persevere until the end have been truly born again.
- Making Our Calling and Election Sure; We are commanded to labor and to strive to keep ourselves in the faith. The best proof that we are saved in the past is our posture in the present. Thus, our perseverance in holy living is not the basis of our salvation, but it is a source of our assurance.
- The Evidence You Have Believed
- The Proof of His Presence – Saving faith proves itself by inexorable changes it makes in the heart. The new, living heart is characterized by a love for God. When you have been born again, you begin to avoid sin not just because you fear punishment, but because it keeps you from God. You begin to seek God because you love God; you begin to do righteous because you crave righteousness. Your spiritual tastes have changed. Once God has given you an appetite for Him, you won’t need to be forced to seek Him. You couldn’t be stopped from seeking him. Your obedience is less about duty and more about delight.
- A Love For Others – Particularly believers. If we are not a generous spirit we likely have never been saved, or so lost touch with it we can hardly be said to understand it any longer. Those people who have experienced the gospel show it by becoming like the gospel.
- “But I still love sin!” - The presence of the struggle itself can be affirmation that God’s Spirit is at work within you. Often the strongest evidence of my growth is grace is my growth in the knowledge of my need for grace.
- It takes a village to identify regeneration – God gave us the local church to see ourselves accurately
- When You Continue to Doubt
- In that moment of doubt, keep believing the Gospel
- Diagnosis is Not the same as Prescription; The Bible never states that anyone will be immune from doubt, spiritual apathy, and severe temptation. Perhaps God allows his saints to struggle that way so that their faith will remain in his grace and not their righteousness. See your struggle with sin as God’s invitation to rest humbly in the gospel
Pray for Revival at FBC Jewett!
Starting this Sunday we will begin our Spring revival at First Baptist Church of Jewett. The church members and I are very excited about this event and what God is going to do both in us and those who come to the events.
Will you join us in praying for this event? (Please Comment Below)
There are prayer points on the book mark in the image. If you would like your own, you can swing by the church and pick one up or email me and I can send you the PDF file.