blogs about awakening
Many years ago, we lived near a large woods where I would often hike with our kids. Near a small pond in the woods was a tree that had a birdhouse nailed to its trunk. I would sometimes (with tongue in cheek) say to my kids, "That birdhouse just happened by itself. A log was on the ground and got pushed into the tree by a huge wind. Then some stones shaped like nails also blew up and nailed the stick to this tree."
In response, my kids would in unison say, "Dad, no way! Somebody put that birdhouse up there." Deep down they knew I had to be joking. And, of course, they were right. I was trying to make a bigger point that, even though we don't know who or how or when, the evidence was unmistakable: intelligence and focused energy produced and installed that birdhouse.
How much more when we look at the overwhelming design, beauty and order of the Universe! It HAD to be designed by an incredible intelligence to make it and then to keep it functioning.
Why in the world do otherwise smart people conclude differently? Because they have embraced a worldview friends of mine would call "One-ism." That is: they believe there is only one reality: the universe that we know and live in. There is no God outside of it. So since the universe is all there is, we are forced to somehow explain how all this order and beauty created itself. (The other worldview, that Christians should embrace, is called by my friends "Two-ism" which holds that an all-wise, all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving God exists outside of His Universe who has created it and sustains it.)
One-ism says that despite the Second Law of Thermodynamics ("The entropy (randomness) of the universe is always increasing."), given enough time, order will somehow flow from disorder. Which, of course, begs another question asked even by atheist Richard Dawkins (for which he admits he has no answer), "Why is there something and not nothing?"
And how about the critically important constants in the Universe that must be precisely what they are for life to exist at all. Constants like the gravitational constant, Planck's constant, the speed of light, etc. etc? And where in our own experience have we ever waited long enough for our socks automatically to be placed back in the correct drawer by themselves? Or for a birdhouse to magically appear on a tree?
My friends, the fact is we live on a tiny speck in a huge universe with billions of galaxies each filled with billions of stars. Right now you are traveling at 67,000 miles per hour around the sun. Our relatively thin atmosphere with the right gas mixture and our precise distance from our sun amazingly allow higher forms of life to exist on this planet. Our Creator God sees every bird that falls from the tree. He knows each one of us better than we know ourselves, yet He loves us completely! This is not just our religious opinion. This is ABSOLUTELY TRUE!!
We need to quit playing defense and apologizing for believing in the God of the Bible and start boldly (and lovingly) sharing its wonderful truths with our neighbors, fellow students and fellow workers who don't yet know Him. Need some help? Go here to download a helpful card with which you can share the Gospel. Below is the front and back of the Gospel card.
"You do not have, because you do not ask." (James 4:2)
Spiritual awakenings are happening in a number of places around the world right now. We hear of many coming to faith in Christ in unexpected places like Iran, India and China. Places where people often pay a high price to follow Jesus.
Let me ask you this: Could persecution actually BE one of the chief reasons the gospel is spreading so rapidly in those nations?
You see, for people to come to Christ, they need to see more than just "nice" people who go to church on Sunday and generally behave themselves during the rest of the week. They need to see Jesus! When people are threatened with imprisonment or worse for following Christ, they are confronted with a choice: either courageously stand for their Lord or capitulate to the pressure.
When Christians boldly and lovingly endure hardship, they powerfully communicate the reality of Christ to a watching world.
This reminds me of the time the founder of the Voices of the Martyrs ministry, Richard Wurmbrand, came to my college campus many years ago. Richard was a Romanian pastor at a time when Christians were often persecuted for their faith in that land. He himself had to endure 14 years of imprisonment accompanied by torture for his faith. During his speech at my school, Richard took off his shirt, and showed us some of the 18 scars he had resulting from his numerous beatings and other painful assaults.
Besides seeing his injuries, I will never forget Richard's words comparing Romanian believers with those in our country: "In Romania," he said, "you have only one kind of Christian, a Christlike Christian. However, in America, you have many kinds of 'Christians.'"
Has it been too easy to be a Christian in America? Are we like those worldly believers whom the Apostle Paul describes in Philippians 3? There, after challenging the Philippian Christians to follow his example of forgetting the past and "pressing on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus," Paul then sadly tells where some errant believers have gone: "For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself." (Philippians 3:18-21)
Do we need more pain in our lives before we pray more, before we share our faith more, before we set our hearts and minds on heaven more? Do we really need full scale persecution before we really let Christ live courageously through us? Or can we choose--even now in our relative ease--to be "all in" for Jesus and His Kingdom? I pray so!
A growing group of Christ-followers in West Michigan are praying for the church in our area to be revived, to come fully alive, leading to the biggest spiritual awakening in the history of America. Will you pray daily for that to happen in your community too?
Someone has well said, "Revival and spiritual awakening are going on somewhere in the world today. Why not here? Why not now?"
Consider Leonard Ravenhill's quote at the top of this letter. Do we want revival enough that it leads us to fervently pray and enthusiastically obey until He graces us with His awesome power and manifest presence?
This video about the Second Great Awakening will remind you of the amazing things that accompany spiritual awakenings.