Revival Here and Now

I know when revival comes.
And I know where it comes.
It all starts with me, not others somewhere else.
Maybe it’s not an experience but a choice rooted in obedience to Christ.

And maybe it can happen now.

I wonder if revival is more than just a sovereign act of God – in which I passively wait for something external to happen. Not that I think could fabricate it by manipulating God into ‘making it happen’.

Revival happens when I die to self and let Christ take his rightful place as not just Saviour but King too in my life…

Revival happens when I stop choosing pleasure and comfort instead of the narrow and often less crowded way of of following Jesus…

Revival happens when what He says in His Word becomes normative for my thinking and lifestyle…

Revival happens when instead of self-centred ‘spiritual activism’ I chose prayerful surrender…

Revival happens when I gather in my faith community (prayer groups, small groups, Sunday gatherings, servant ministries) with the same expectation that I have when I go to concerts, events and conferences…

Revival happens when my family, workplace and ‘third place’ are all equally valid places of worship – where I am living for the audience of One wherever I am…

Revival happens when I see the idols in my life and unashamedly I chose to tear them down, daily…

Revival happens when love and truth are not an either or…

Revival happens when the Cross is not a nostalgic fading memory but a vivid daily reality…

Revival happens when the Holy Spirit ceases to be an ‘it’ that I ‘push/tap/plug into’ and becomes the Counselling Comforting and Convicting Jesus- glorifying ever-present God…

Revival happens when I don’t live in order to impress God and others but live in the freedom and acceptance that grace gives me…

Revival happens when church stops being the building I go into or the service I attend on a Sunday…

Revival happens when the Good News is so good that being it’s ambassador becomes second nature…

Revival happens when I throw away the bib and put on the apron…

Revival happens when I chose hope and joy not because everything has fallen into place – but because Jesus is alive…

Revival happens when I admit that this is not my home and I stop gathering ‘treasures and trinkets’ that will vanish – instead investing in the eternal…

Revival happens when I stop obsessing about revival and fix my eyes on Christ…

Get the Most out of the Sermon

Sometimes it’s not just them – it’s us. As consumers we are instinctively expecting to be entertained, and often that shows in our approach to engaging with the preached/taught Word of God during our gatherings. Sometimes it’s the fault of the one standing in front of us but often it is a failure to prepare ourselves properly. I struggle with distraction and boredom just like everyone else – if not more. But I have learned, by grace and over time, to use some tools that can help my attention and enhance the reception of what is being communicated. Our personalities would create a very different experience and you need to learn to figure out your own tricks and tips. Nevertheless, these suggestions might help you too.
  • Pray for yourself through the week – that God would make you spiritually hungry, receptive and attentive.
  • Pray for the speaker – that God would speak to them and enable them to communicate with clarity, compassion and courage.
  • If you have the bookmarks with the series – read the passage beforehand and meditate on it.
  • Attempt to do discipline yourself to come in the best possible shape mentally, ready to hear and engage with God’s word.
  • Participate fully in the prayers and singing in the rest of the service – as that can provide a healthy foundation for a grateful and hungry heart – ready to receive God’s word.
  • Bring a Bible, better not use a smartphone, keeping distractions at bay. Unless you’re Jedi-like in your ability to resist checking other stuff.
  • Bring a Notepad and a Pen.
  • Write the main points down.
  • Write some questions/issues that you need to work through.
  • Write what was the ‘one thing’ for you to take away and apply.
  • As the service has finished, don’t rush, ask the Holy Spirit to seal and bring forth fruit from that message.
  • While ‘doing life together’ is important – don’t be swamped by just talking about trivialities afterwards – ask each other what God spoke to us about.
  • If the message ‘hit home’ – get a coffee/send an email and explain to the speaker how this was relevant to you.
  • Talk in the car and over lunch with family (if you can) about what you have learned.
  • Take some time mid-week to review and simplify what God spoke to you through the message.
  • Take your questions and observations to the LIFE Group – that’s your spiritual contribution to the spiritual Jacob’s Join.
  • Figure out ways to encourage others by passing on what you have heard God speak to you either personally or by forwarding the podcast

The Tapestry of Unity

Unity has many faces. Some are hideously ugly, others mesmerisingly beautiful. Some enforced with an iron fist, others enjoyed with a selfless loving humility. Man-made or God-crafted.

One of the many reason I love our church (the people, not the building or the gatherings), is our variety. Our roots and skin shades, our stories and our struggles with one common denominator: Christ’s love. This diversity can be our blessing or our curse. We can chose to collide or be woven together by God’s skilled artistry.

The secret is to see those around me created by God’s amazing originality.

The secret is to allow God to do his work in me first, not just in us.

The secret is to see beauty in someone not being like me.

The secret is to ask what can I do for others, before asking what others can do for me.

The secret is to try to ‘get’ people,  getting over barriers of fear or eccentricity.

The secret is not to expect to see the beauty of unity close-up but only from afar.

The secret is to assume the best and make room for genuine excuses.


Psalm 133:1
How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!

John 17:23
I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

Colossians 3:13-14
Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.


This week (and not only this week): pray for unity & play your part in loving, serving and encouraging

QUIT THE QUIET TIME

Sounds like a controversial title. We are always encouraged in church settings to have and keep our ‘quiet time’. This is simply a time set aside usually in the morning for a short reading and prayer.

While I have nothing against praying and reading scripture, I have grave concerns about this model. It can potentially breed a false sense of achievement. I have clocked in my 10-30 minutes with God and I’m off the hook. Just one of the ways to appease my conscience and myself feel ritually better. My fear is that it can foster a works-based religious exercise.

And religion isn’t really what I see discipleship with Jesus to be all about… I see it as a relationship. And in a relationship affection creates a desire for greater intimacy. Instead of just checking in every morning in a dutiful way, what about spending all day with an awareness and real engagement with God? Some of probably means praying and reading Scriptures in the morning, but not as the only way of listening and speaking to God.

Self discipline and intentionality are essential to our spiritual growth, yet I’m suspicious of only acknowledging God’s presence in pre-booked slots through the day. This can only deepen the sacred vs. secular divide that has been plaguing our western Christianity through the ages. I do my ‘God slot’ and then I get on with my ‘real’ live…

It all seems akin to ‘guilt offerings’ the males of the species bring to their female counterparts from time to time, just in order to get out of the ‘dog house’. They seem well intended but somehow slightly selfish and insincere.

I remember Paul’s baffling exhortation to the believers in Thessalonica to pray without ceasing. The secret is a life of devotion that is full time and relational, integrating every aspect of our daily existence.

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