Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Longing for Revival: Resources for Revival

Over the past few days, I've been doing a theological jazz riff on Mike Walker's call for prayer and fasting for the PC(USA). I'll try to wrap this up today with a few thoughts on resources for revival:

Of course, any talk of resources for revival is bound to sound absurd. As we saw yesterday -- revival isn't an event to be planned or orchestrated. It is a gracious move of the Holy Spirit. Certain writings and resources have softened my heart; they have chiseled in my brain what it looks like to long for revival; they have impressed upon me a deeper dependence dependence upon the Holy Spirit. They have driven me back to the core disciplines of prayer and being in the Word. These resources are not textbooks on how to do revival; they are garden tools to break up the clay of our hearts that we might be receptive soil for revival:

As mentioned yesterday, Iain Murray's Revival and Revivalism is a must read on this topic. See yesterday's post for more info.

I'd also commend Martin Lloyd-Jones' Preaching and Preachers. In this volume, Lloyd-Jones talks practical ministry, but he paints it as a vocation deeply saturated in the word and in prayer. This book is where he tells of his encounter with a medium who started to attend his church -- many years later he asked her what led her to give up speaking with spirits of the dead. She said that for months she watched people walk past her shop to go to his church -- so one Sunday she decided to visit. When she arrived in the sanctuary before worship, the congregants were gathered in silent and personal prayers of preparation and she said that she felt power there "Not unlike the power I felt communicating with the spirits, but this was a clean power." Worth reading for the story alone.

Then I'd go to Jim Cymbala's Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire -- a bit on the pentecostal side. Overall it has very solid material. Cymbala decided that his church would begin measuring success not by the attendance at the Sunday worship service, but by participation in the weekday prayer meeting -- and the Holy Spirit began to move powerfully.

One I read in seminary was Spirit Empowered Preaching by Arturo Azurdia. It's a plea for us reformed types to not forget the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching. Two quotes that stuck with me enough to make it into my notes: "The oral side of our career is visible, but it is never the source of spiritual power. In fact, our devotional life ... is the secret of real clout. A friend of mine long ago reminded me that I could not help people if I was always with people.... Preaching from the silent center is the evidence that we who preach on trust are also living it. Preaching, in one sense, merely discharges the firearm that God has loaded in the silent place. The successful volley does not mean that we have passed homiletics, but rather that we have been with God."

and also

"Dutch pastors often recite a familiar saying to their congregations. Though it defies exact translation into English, it can be summarized as follows 'If you pray me full, I'll preach you full.'"

Either of the Transformations videos from the Sentinel group will give you a powerful sense of what God is doing throughout the world right now. Marvel at God's work in Colombia, among the Innuit, and in Fiji.

I could go on -- but I've probably lost most readers by this point anyway -- any inspiring resources you'd like to share -- comment away!

Soli Deo Gloria