This weekend I went on a retreat with my church to Allaso Ranch. It’s always nice to get away and relax, but also to be challenged spiritually. Some of my favorite Prestonwood speakers were there, but one session, in particular, really hit home for me. Clint Ivy’s sermon titled “Now” explored revival and change. If you’ve been keeping up with the garrulous goat you know that, change is my word of the year, so his talk was a pleasant and much needed surprise.
He sums it up with a simple equation:
God’s Heart + Believer’s Calling – Common Fears + Disciplined Daily Life= Revival & Change
God’s Heart is almost incomprehensible. As seen in 2 Peter 3:9 “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God’s heart is bigger than big, and we are just mere humans that are incapable of really comprehending the never-ceasing love of Jesus. I know I tend to think that if I make a mistake, or do something I deem unforgivable, that God will pack his bags and give up on me, but that is definitely not the case. The depth and intensity of His love is so deep and eternal that its inconceivable to the human mind, but I think that’s what makes it beautiful.
Believer’s Calling is pretty straightforward. Straightforward, but not always the easiest to execute. Acts 1:8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witness in Jerusalem, and in all of Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” As Christians, all that we do should be for the advancement of the gospel. It is our duty to tell other people about Jesus. Period. I have a lot of trouble with this. I always feel so awkward, and never want to be the cause of anyone’s uneasiness, (especially my own) but I just need to get over myself and be bold.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” —————————————————————————-Matthew 28: 19-20
Common fears are the reservations and hesitations that every single one of us have. Even the disciples possessed the same fears, and they were literally with Jesus every.single.day. One major example of this is when Jesus walks on water in Mark 6:47-49.
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd. 46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.
47 Later that night, the boat was in the middle of the lake, and he was alone on land. 48 He saw the disciples straining at the oars, because the wind was against them. Shortly before dawn he went out to them, walking on the lake. He was about to pass by them, 49 but when they saw him walking on the lake, they thought he was a ghost. They cried out, 50 because they all saw him and were terrified.
Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” 51 Then he climbed into the boat with them, and the wind died down. They were completely amazed, 52 for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened.
When you allow God get in your boat, the storm clears. Trust him.
Disciplined Daily Faith seems to be the one I struggle with the most. Acts 2:42 talks about new believers that “…devoted themselves to the apostle’s teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and prayer.” In theory this is a simple concept, but in reality its one of the hardest. Nothing that is more important as my relationship with Christ, so why do the things of the world take precedence over Him in my life?
The equation just makes sense, but actually applying it to my life is a different story. In order to experience revival and change, I need to be open to revival and change. Do I understand God’s Heart? Am I willing to humble myself and promote the Kingdom? Do I actually trust that the Lord knows what’s best for me? Am I ready to give up the worldly things that give me such temporary satisfaction? Chris Ivy concluded his sermon by posing the question: What would you lose if you prayed more? Seriously though, what would I lose?