Revival

I’m heading home after two days of participating in “A Conversation on Revival”. The event was intended to bring together a variety of church leaders to think about what revival is and what it has to do with the present church in America.
You might have started wondering as soon as you saw the word Revival. People (even the people at this event) define the word in very different ways. Revival as “special annual service” or ” summer nights in a tent with a sawdust floor” doesn’t grab me very much. However, revival as a season when the Lord gives his people a special awareness of the presence and power of Christ (which J.I. Packer called awakening the “slack and sleepy” church) is far more exciting to me, and this was largely the focus of the event.
What causes such a season to occur? How can we prepare for it? What can we expect to come from such a season? These were some of the questions on our minds.
There are two things that particularly stand out in my mind. First, a season of revival is a time when the supremacy of Jesus Christ becomes the focus of the people. Many of us would like to believe that Christ is at the heart of our life and ministry already, but the reality is it just isn’t so. The church is so often self-centered,  and is deluding itself into thinking it is Christ-centered. In revival, the church becomes Christ- consumed.
Second, we must pray more. If we actually want any of what we say we want as the church, we must seek the Lord much more intensely. And, the truth is that when we do we will see that what we wanted even then in our intensity of prayer was far less than what Christ is delighted to bring.

Worship Wars Wisdom

I’m almost through reading Transformational Church by Ed Stetzer.  Specifically, read the chapter on worship this afternoon, and even as it affirmed some of the directions I have been thinking about, it challenged others, including some of my long-standing thoughts about blending worship with elements from a variety of eras and traditions.  I’ll say more about it in the next couple days, but for now, this was one of the points Stetzer and Thom Rainer made that I was already on board with: reverence is a more important measurement than relevance when evaluating your worship service.  Of course, part of the reason for this is that God is relevant, and does not need us to make him seem so.  When we are focused on making worship relevant, we are often overlooking that reality; if we were approaching  mindful that the transcendent and imminent God is already completely present and engaged with this moment, we would be in awe of him, and our worship would therefore be more reverent.