Happy New Year, Church Family! God, in His grace and mercy, has met us with the hopeful prospect of 365 days of steadfast love and mercy (Lamentations 3:22-23). We welcome this kind of new beginning.
One of the things I love about a new beginning is the opportunity it gives us to get things right in the coming year. We resolve to get in shape, eat better, be nicer, love deeper, post kinder, tweet less. Some of those things we will do—for a while.
I want more than that. My prayer for 2019 is that a Spiritual Awakening takes place. I need it in my life, I see the need for it in the lives of others, and I know that we need it as a church. I hope that you will join me in a daily prayer for Spiritual Awakening to be experienced in our church, in our homes, and throughout our city.
John Piper says, “Revival is the sovereign work of God to awaken His people with fresh intensity to the truth and glory of God, the ugliness of sin, the horror of hell, the preciousness of Christ’s atoning work, the wonder of salvation by grace through faith, the urgency of holiness and witness, and the sweetness of worship with God’s people. Revival is what happens when the sovereign Spirit wills to blow on large numbers at one time (John 3:8).”
Several things in Piper’s words resonate with me. First, revival, or spiritual awakening, is the work of God. We cannot manipulate it, manufacture it, plan it, or make it happen. Only God can make the wind of revival blow. He is sovereign. He is in control.
Second, when revival, or spiritual awakening, happens, there is a new intensity about everything in life that really matters. Our priorities will change, not by our arrangement, but by arrangement of the Holy Spirit. If the Spirit of God lights a fire of holy intensity in our hearts, we won’t dare misplace His priorities for lesser things. We’ve let the minors become the majors, and the majors become the minors. Revival winds reorder those things properly. That’s the kind of awakening I long to see.
Finally, wouldn’t it be an amazing experience to see the wind of revival blow on our church as a whole, or as Piper says, “on large numbers at one time”? That’s harder for me to imagine today than ever before because we are rarely all together as a large group. Multiple services and multiple demands on everyone’s time allow only a small portion of our church body to be together on any one Sunday. And, what if the Sunday the Spirit’s wind blew was the same Sunday you had business out of town? Wouldn’t that be horrible!
2019 could be the year of Spiritual Awakening. I’m going to “set my sails” so they can catch the Spirit’s Wind should God providentially and sovereignly start to blow.
I hope you’ll join me.
Dr. Frank R.Lewis, senior pastor
1 John Piper, A Godward Life: Savoring the Supremacy of God in All Life (Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 1997), 111.