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Revive Us Again

Revive Us Again

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I've been thinking about revival-maybe because it's spring and my spiritual clock anticipates a protracted meeting usually in the autumn and spring in the local church. My thinking has turned to prayer for revival. It"s on my heart and mind each time I enter my daily devotional times. My Web surfing usually parallels what is occupying my mind, and I read this on-line in a scholarly paper:

Is there a distinction between revival and awakening?
RENEWAL: When God touches the heart of a single individual
REVIVAL: When God touches a community of faith
AWAKENING: When the wider society is impacted 

Sometime ago, Oliver Phillips, director of Mission Strategy for the USA/Canada Region wrote in his blog:

I still yearn for God to affect this revival spirit in our church and denomination today. The word "revival" comes from the Latin word revivere, which means "to live again." Most Bible commentaries share the thought that the definition implies that something has died. This is not to imply that our church in the U.S. and Canada is dead, but I am convicted that only a genuine revival could restore the luster in our ranks and a passion to reach lost communities and disciple new converts to become disciple-makers.

Continuing to think along these lines, I wondered what, if anything, we might have said about revival here in the pages of Holiness Today. Taking a few moments to search, I found content that suggested an outline for thinking about revival.

The Past:
From the beginning days, Nazarenes have huddled tightly in hot, stale tabernacles with dust covering the benches and songbooks, waiting for an evangelist to preach. The evangelist told them, straightforwardly and plainly, that God requires complete transformation, that He offers forgiveness, that giving themselves away for others is the way of life in His kingdom. The crisis point invited change. People flocked to the altar, giving themselves entirely to God as a living sacrifice. They left changed. They left holy, committed to authentic loving that spreads into the nitty-gritty corners of life. - Jeff Barker, "P.S. (Publishing Our Subscribers),"

The Present:
Q: From what sermon topic do you most enjoy preaching? 
A: Revival - reviving the church in the sense of bringing new life to the church.-Aguiar Valvasourra, "Sketches," September/October 2004.

The Personal:
I was 20 years old, lost, and had no interest in church or serving God. I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio, and had my own interests. God was certainly not one of them. However, when I saw the change in my father, God began to speak to me. I bought my first Bible and began to read it.

At first, I didn't even know that there were four Gospels. Someone helped me get started in the book of Matthew and for nine months I read God's word. A revival campaign came to my father's church, and he invited me to attend with him. I had become quite hungry for salvation. That Sunday morning I received Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. What a change it made in my life!- Louie Bustle, "Never Give Up!" November/December 2007.

The Future:
Q: Where do you see the Church of the Nazarene in Portugal in five years?
A: Growing. I am anticipating a revival as a reflection of the desire-especially in young people to impact the world where they live. And I'm not saying that in numbers, but in the sense of a spirit awakening of people who call themselves Christians and Nazarenes. -Raquel Pereira, "Sketches," November/December 2009.

Evangelist C. William Fisher wrote It's Revival We Need. In this book, he stated these convictions:

1. We need revival to maintain our doctrines.
2. We need revivals to maintain our standards.
3. We need revival if our evangelism is to be effective and spiritually productive.

O Lord, "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" (Psalms 85:6)

David J. Felter, editor in chief

Holiness Today, May/June 2010