Yesterday I preached a message at church that I had been working on for a couple of months. It was one of those sermons that God burned in my belly for a long time.
To summarize it, I started with the revival and renewal period of Israel under Ezra and Nehemiah in the Old Testament. Then, I talked about the day of Pentecost after the resurrection of Jesus and the great turning of souls to the Lord by the thousands. I further shared the history of the First Great Awakening, the Second Great Awakening and the Spiritual Awakening of the early 20th century. In all of these times, thousands were converted. Both the lifestyle and moral fabric of the nations (America, England, Wales, Scotland, Australia, Canada) were impacted by the Christian gospel.
In all of those, it started out in a small geographic location with a few people who were dedicated and wholly submitted to God's will.
In every situation, the hunger and cry of the unsaved was met by the preaching of the gospel message by both trained and untrained preachers. It was the power of the Good News that brought salvation to thousands and thousands.
I challenged our small congregation to join me in starting a new Spiritual Awakening in our land. We average about 75 -100 in worship. We meet in a small building. We do not have much money, and we truly wait to pay our church bills week by week. We have a large contingent of homeless and parolee attenders. Many of our people are unemployed or under-employed. But we are powerful in spirit and love.
I titled my message "R.I.O.T." I used the sentence, "Let's start a R.I.O.T. in America." The letters of RIOT stand for "Revival In Our Time." So, let's start a revival in our time in America. A spiritual renewal is needed.
I printed out the bulk of my message and inserted it into the worship service bulletin for the day. Included in it was a listing of 10 pursuits that we as God's people must pay attention to. By seeking to follow these pursuits, it will help us usher in a spiritual renewal in us personally, in our local church, in our area and in our world. At the bottom of that paper was a signature line for them to sign. I had them come forward at the invitation and commitment time at the close of the worship hour. I asked them to sign the sheet openly and then pronounce out loud for all to hear these words: "I love the Lord Jesus with all my heart."
It was a great time of outpouring of dedication and surrender. I am excited to see how God works in the weeks to come. If you would like to join this movement, please write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will give you more information.