Some of you know that I have been dealing with a back injury. It's been frustrating as it limits a lot of activities. In a recent visit with a physical therapist, she asked what my goal was through therapy. My response was simple (even if I knew that the route to get there would be more difficult): I wanted the pain to be gone so that I could go back to doing normal activities. As the session continued, I thought about my answer, and realized that my hope was for something greater. It wasn't just for the pain to be gone, but that the source of the pain would be corrected. I wanted to not just treat the symptom but also address and hopefully correct what was causing the symptoms. Physical pain helps us to recognize that an injury is present. I began wondering if there are symptoms when there are issues with our spiritual life? I recognize that some of you may be thinking how random, but what else are you going to do while lying there with a traction machine stretching you out?
As I thought about spiritual symptoms, I first began thinking of positive ones such as the fruits of the spirit (Gal. 5:22-23), or how Scripture says that others will know that you are my disciples by your love for one another (John 13:35). There are negative symptoms as well, but the point is that just like physical symptoms, they all point to a deeper issue. Unfortunately, like physical ones, they are often ignored or overlooked when they first manifest themselves as they are relatively mild. We often don't recognize that we need to address anything until the symptoms progress or even snowball to be a giant problem. It's not uncommon to have to ask yourself, how did I get here? What happened to that passion, that zeal I used to have? The reality is that the outcome is a result of a series of poor choices being made one after another. The path to get back on track is getting right with God. You can address the symptoms, but for real change, you have to go deeper to the heart of the matter. "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me" (Psalm 51:10). It begins with repentance – confessing our sins and turning to God. "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
I bring all of this up because at the end of this month we will have revival services at our church. And in the context of revival, it is easy to say that our country needs revival. It's easy to point our fingers at others, but revival begins on a personal level. It's time to get right with God. Do you realize that you have been made alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:5)? Do you feel alive? Wake up! It is time to be spiritually reawakened, to be passionate about His Word, to be convicted by sin, to desire to grow in Him, to love others, to proclaim His truth, and to follow Christ with all of our heart. Pray for this. Pray that God will work within you, and within others. Let revival begin with you and pray that God will open the eyes of others so that revival continues throughout. Also pray for how God can use you to work in the lives of others and to help build His kingdom. It's time to look deeper than the symptoms, but go to the real issue at hand. We need Jesus.
"Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you" (Psalm 85:6)? Our revival services will be on April 29 to May 1. We will have four sessions: Friday night, Saturday night, Sunday morning, and concluding on Sunday night. For the Sunday morning service, we will be holding a joint single service at 9:30 am instead of having our typical separate three morning services. This poses a space issue since everyone from all three services can't fit in the sanctuary at the same time, but we will have overflow seating outside the sanctuary to accommodate. Even with logistical issues, I feel it is important for us as a church family to unite together and have an opportunity for us to worship together. I sincerely hope that minor issues don't become the focus or detract from what is important. Our focus should be on Christ. I hope this is a time for our church to come together with a fervent and passionate desire to seek God and serve Him with all of our heart, mind, body, and strength. Be in prayer for revival.