Awakenings, Revivals, and RiverOaks
Throughout history, God has built and restored his church through two types of events: revivals and awakenings. Both are works of the Holy Spirit giving people new birth. They differ according to the recipients of the Spirit’s work.
In times of revival, God converts people who are outside the church. Unbelievers who have never cared about spiritual things, begin to feel drawn to Christ. They show interest in the church, attend worship or special services, hear the gospel and respond with faith and repentance. If you would like to read about a couple of great revivals through history, I recommend the one volume George Whitfield by Arnold Dallimore, or Dr. Martin Lloyd Jones, the First 40 years by Iain Murry.
Awakenings occur within the church. People who have continued to come to church for years realize that they have never known Jesus, never felt his love, never hated their sin, never really believed. As the Holy Spirit works in these who feel convicted, they begin to experience assurance of God’s love and joy in the Holy Spirit that results in greater passion for holiness, service and outreach.
Which of these do you believe Tulsa needs? In the past month or so, I have been impressed that we need awakening. Our town seems overrun with people who ‘used’ to go to church. Would you join me in praying for an awakening in our community? Awakenings are hard because everyone already knows the lingo. We all know the words “Jesus died for my sins.” But that does not mean we all know Jesus.
Maybe we should start by asking questions closer to home. Maybe we should ask ourselves some hard questions: Has my conscience grown calloused? Does God’s word still get to my heart, or do I hear it and forget it? Do I find myself less appalled by my sin than I used to be? Have I grown cynical, and lost hope for the kingdom of God to come? Have I let the busyness of life choke out the word of God? Have I let the love of money extinguish my love for Christ? Does worship feel more like a chore than a date with the lover of your soul?
I do not know God’s plan for Tulsa, our state or country. But I do know that he loves his people. I know he wants us to love him and enjoy him. I know that true joy and lasting pleasure awaits those who delight in him alone. Please pray with me that he would show us the way to awakening.
If you would like to hear some recent sermons and lectures on the topic of awakening, check out Ligonier Ministries Awakening: 2018 National Conference online.