So … What’s the Problem?

[John the Baptist] went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. As it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet:                                                                   A voice of one calling in the desert,                                                                                    ‘Prepare the way for the Lord,                                                                                                          make straight paths for him.                                                                                                                                                Luke 3:3-4

For years I have been praying daily for revival in America. I’m not sure what I expected it look like. From my years at a charismatic church, I often pictured crowds of ecstatic worshipers, but when the pandemic hit and the world was thrown into such fear and turmoil, I began to envision a different kind of turning to God.

Past revivals have been described as mass repentance – crowds of people falling on their faces, weeping over their sins.  As people, including those who had once considered themselves righteous, repented and surrendered to Christ, He changed everything about their lives. Bars and casinos closed for lack of business, as people sought to please God instead of their flesh. The country really took notice!

Recently I am hearing about some commotion in various cities that I hope is genuine revival. In videos of the live events I have witnessed some beautiful worship and jubilant celebration. But when the live streams stopped there,  I was concerned that these meetings might not be sharing the whole gospel from the beginning – the conviction of sin by the Holy Spirit, confession, repentance, and receiving the forgiveness of God through Jesus’ death on the cross. Without these having taken place in a person’s life, these events will just be another concert series creating an emotional high – a very fleeting emotional high.

Then one night I watched a two-hour video of the entire event, where well into the evening a local pastor (finally!) came to the microphone and explained salvation. He started with the good news they’d been singing about all evening – “God loves you and wants a relationship with you!”

Yes… and … I held my breath.

He then gave the necessary  bad news: “But something is in the way of that relationship …” [pause]

Yes, yes … say it!

“…and that’s sin.

YESSSS!!!!

The pastor explained how Jesus died on the cross in our place, taking the punishment we deserved, and that His death paid for our sins … if we place our faith in Him.

Ding-ding-ding-ding! I sighed with relief and prayed the crowd had heard and were taking it to heart.

Later, as the singing continued, baptisms were taking place! I could see the pastor speaking with each person before they went under the water. Unfortunately the singing drowned out (No pun intended) the pastor’s words, but I really hoped that he was explaining what was happening. I had been a little unsettled to hear the worship leader ask, “Who wants to be baptized?” and the crowd responding enthusiastically without any further elaboration on the meaning.

As the video progressed, I scrolled through the comments, looking for signs that people were “getting it.” One of the comments reflected my concern. A viewer asked if following this one-night event – after the worship team had moved on to the next city – if there would be any local follow-up. Good question, I thought. Unfortunately I didn’t see an answer.

I may be coming off as a kill-joy, and believe me, I don’t want my joy killed if this is the answer to years of prayer! But in America the church has too often touted a “cheap grace,” not wanting to speak of sin and judgment for fear of offending people.

Jesus never sugar-coated His message, even though when He spoke the hard truths, many people walked away. It was (and is) important to Him that we “count the cost,” knowing that placing our faith in Him is a serious commitment, not just “fire insurance.” I’ve known individuals who have been like the seed in Jesus’ parable (Luke 8:4-15) that fell onto shallow soil or in weeds, and their faith was short-lived. Unprepared for the trials of life or the world’s distractions, they felt they had been “had” with all the happy promises that made no mention of repentance and suffering.

Revival isn’t one or two exciting nights of great music, although that may well be a part of it. True revival is a move of God that changes lives forever. It’s a sort of spiritual surgery, cutting into the deepest regions of our hearts and rooting out the sin that separates us from the God who created us and loves us. The best Scripture I know describing such a move of God was where God warned the nation of Israel that if they persisted in disobeying Him, they would experience His judgment in various forms, including plagues. (Sound familiar?) But then He made a beautiful promise, with a big “IF“: 

[I]f my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and forgive their sin and will heal their land.                                                                                                                                                                                                                    II Chronicles 7:14:

Tomorrow (September 26) two gatherings will take place in our nation’s capital. These will not be concerts or “worship protests,” but a time of repentance on the part of the Church – not pointing accusing fingers at unbelievers! Scripture says, “if MY people…” That’s us, folks! Along with prayers of repentance will be prayers for our nation to be forgiven and healed – beginning with us! Since most of us will not be in the Washington D.C. area, the events will be live streamed throughout the day and evening. Here are the links: 

Prayer march with Franklin Graham, 12 noon- 2 P.M. EDT:

https://prayermarch2020.com/?SOURCE=BA209YGCL&utm_campaign=attend-stream_prayer_march&utm_medium=email&_hsmi=95961950&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-_sMXtU6-8KmUrnoNf4VBJ6lA1ryxV9CHnf8NCXV8E_wsXXOk6tTEKFDAup1p3-stKQ_H_PG0YrPkHcyW_XZmGRGbIlsA&utm_source=giving_company

“The Return” with Jonathan Cahn, 9:00 A.M. – 5:00 P.M. EDT and 6:00-9:00 P.M. EDT

https://thereturn.org/

And please, don’t just watch. Even though we are scattered, we can still pray together. In the days of John the Baptist, repentance paved the way for revival. And it still does.

Prayer: Lord, we have failed You, but You have not given up on us. In light of Your mercy, we repent of our sins and pray for Your help in turning from them and becoming the people You want us to be, in Jesus’ name. Amen

46 thoughts on “So … What’s the Problem?

  1. Annie, thanks for this, this is excellent.
    As a Catholic, often I get asked if I am ‘saved,’ or ‘born again’.
    Although the church considers infant baptism the official ‘born again’ experience, nevertheless , Catholics recognize a ‘metanoia experience’, which is a recognition of ourselves as sinners, and a need to repent, and invite Jesus into our hearts.

    Every sincere believer has recognized the need for repentance and conversion.
    Let us continue to pray for revival. Sometimes this can happen in a dramatic way, or this can be a slow but sure change, as inspired by the Holy Spirit. 🤗🌷

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Hi Annie, I must have worded this first sentence ten different ways and each sentence I have erased. Jesus tells us that we can do nothing without Him. Revival is a work of God’s Holy Spirit, where He gives empowerment and the conviction of hearts is His work. I’ve seen this in worship, where the whole congregation is swept up in Holy adoration, like orchestrated waves. I’ve experienced the empowerment where the words flow effortlessly like a rushing stream and then stop like the water has ceased to flow. Not once, in my experience, has it been planned by any of us, it just happened, enabled by God and empowered by God. Is it wrong to individually and collectively pray for revival? Not at all. I find a certain amount of personal guilt associated with praying for a revival, in that I do not do it enough. I’m thinking that we even need God’s help to get to that place, where we earnestly cry out for the unsaved and for God to do what we cannot do. Most times I am focused on close family members (saved and unsaved) and fellow church members and a few unsaved that I know, when I ask for God’s grace, blessings and guidance. I also pray for those who are persecuted and those in prisons and jails but not very often for revival. Everything of God is brought about by God and I am wondering if we have collectively lost that realization. I need to be empowered by God to be empowered by God, my and our dependency is that total and the circles that I cast out in faith are relatively small. Probably short sightedness on my part. But I will start praying for revival, in us and for the lost. Blessings.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Yes, it is absolutely God’s move, Bruce! I do pray for revival (in specific families, nations, and demographics – my prayer time has grown during the pandemic. 😉 ) and I believe when revival happens it will be in answer to prayer. I think of the two little old ladies who prayed fervently and daily in their kitchens in the years leading up to one of the great revivals, and another revival that followed businessmen’s gathering in increasingly large groups during their lunch breaks in a certain city. But the timing and where and how it will happen is totally up to God.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. You make an excellent point, Annie. I would likely be asking the same questions. I have witnessed far too many events swept up in emotionalism without proper foundations being laid or follow-up offered. It’s a dangerous thing. I am glad to read the pastor shared the truth of our need for salvation. I pray there were many genuine cases of repentance and ready believers to disciple.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Excellent post, this is really interesting!!🙏🙏🙏

    I agree:

    ‘in America the church has too often touted a “cheap grace,” not wanting to speak of sin and judgment for fear of offending people.’

    Sad truth!

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I watched some of Fri night’s music and speakers. That alone was awesome. I have read-up on the march today. Looks like all things went smoothly. Waiting to get a number of the crowd. I expect to see God move after this weekend’s events.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am just now watching Friday night’s events. I didn’t realize it had started then until I tuned in Saturday.
      By the way, I couldn’t get the live stream first thing Saturday morning – I kept getting “not available,” which was pretty frustrating. At first I just thought the enemy was messing with it, because it was so important, but then I thought maybe God wasn’t letting me see it because i hadn’t spent any time alone with Him that morning. So I went to my “war room” and Jesus had me all to Himself for a while. ❤ 90 minutes later I came downstairs, and it started right up for me. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Annie, I feel your heart! I am with you! I have the same response to some of these supposed revivals or mass gatherings where people are getting baptized and they say they are being saved. I agree with you wholeheartedly. But even though the pastor said sin was the problem and he said Jesus was the solution, he didn’t really explain “faith,” as I believe you said, and that is the critical part. Too many with a false faith not walking in obedience to the Lord but still living and walking in sin, thinking that is okay with God. This is why we must be diligent in getting out the truth for many will hear one day, “Depart from me, I never knew you.”

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Sue, I hope you were able to watch “The Return” yesterday. If not, you can watch it at
    thereturnsimulcast.com/the-return
    Saturday afternoon they began praying for healing and revival for America, but not until they had spent several hours in confession and repentance. I was very encouraged.

    Like

  8. I have a dear friend who flew from CA to the capital to participate in these events. I am really looking forward to hearing from her on her perception from there on what it was like. And I think that is absolutely wonderful that you have been praying so consistently for so long for this! I know He has heard and recorded every one of your prayers, Annie. That is truly beautiful.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. When the subject of revival comes up, I think of the Billy Graham crusades where hundreds of people came forward to give their life to Jesus. Rev. Graham wasn’t shy about sin. He made it clear that it kept us from God. I am one of those who got saved through his ministry (watching it on TV). Great post, Annie! Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Cindy. I hope you got to watch some of “The Return.” If you don’t have the 17 hours or so to watch the whole thing ( 😉 ) you should at least see Jonathan Cahn’s speech/prophesy in the Saturday morning session. It starts at about 2:53. (Two hours 53 minutes in.)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. A loud amen from my corner Annie. I am waiting and praying for a revival of God’s people (as well as salvation happening) and then a boldness (we are not seeing much of) with less concern for our own well-being and more for the world around us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Amen, Gary. It just occurred to me that revival happens when people are brought BACK to life. Lost people can’t be REvived, because they haven’t lived for the first time. Christians have received life from God, but for them to be revived, they must first die (to self). A lot of us have been asking to be revived when we haven’t humbled ourselves in repentance.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Answering your comment in my apologetics’ round up post: There’s some Christian apologists and philosophers that have really worked up some technical arguments for why math demonstrates God’s existence!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I had no idea something like this was going on. It warms my heart. Thanks for sharing.
    I agree with you that the “But” or “aaaand” is very important. However, I noticed that it’s much easier to draw people in with the good news first and “prime” them for further immersion and “surgery.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. True, it’s a delicate balance. We don’t want to just jump in with the hellfire and damnation and scare them off, but we also don’t want to give them the idea that the life of faith takes no commitment on their part or is always a walk in the park – although often it awesome! 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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