From Pastor Johnny

Can Revival Happen Here? Day 4 Conclusion


Real revival can happen in the midst of God’s people. Remember Jeremiah Lanphier and the prayer revival? There was nothing special about Lanphier.

“One of the six at the first Fulton Street meeting was a twenty-one-year-old Philadelphian. ‘Why not a prayer meeting in Philadelphia?’ he thought. He and some of his fellow members of the YMCA asked for permission to hold a meeting in the Methodist Episcopal Union Church. The start was dismal. Only about forty came. The meeting was moved to another building more centrally located. Still the crowd stayed around sixty. But suddenly there was a change. On March 8, 1858, 300 people were present. On Wednesday, March 10, 2,500 people jammed into a larger auditorium. Seats were set up on the stage. After that, not less than 3,000 people attended the meeting every day.

“Early in 1858 the revival power poured over the Appalachian Mountains and into the West. Every major town fell before it—Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, Chicago, St. Louis, Omaha —and on to the Pacific Coast. In Chicago, where 2,000 showed up for prayer in the Metropolitan Theater, a newspaper commented: So far as the effects of the present religious movement are concerned, they are apparent to all. They are to be seen in every walk of life, to be felt in every phase of society. All have been more or less influenced by this excitement. And everywhere, it was a revival of prayer. There was no hysteria, no unusual disturbances. Just prayer.

“The revival rolled on into 1859 and 1860. There is no telling how long it might have lasted if the Civil War had not broken out. Some writers say that it carried right through the war.

“When the revival was at high tide through the nation, it was judged that 50,000 persons a week were converted. And the number who joined the churches in 1858 amounted to almost 10 percent of the country’s total church membership! In comparison, with a population in America of over 330 million, that would mean 33 million people being converted and joining churches in the next two years. And, since only about 66 million Americans attend church each week, seeing 10% converted would mean a 50% growth in our churches over the next two years.

“Lanphier’s dedication to the work came only after a struggle and total surrender to God. He testified: ‘The subject was laid upon my heart and was a matter of constant consideration for some time. At last I resolved to give myself to the work, and I shall never forget with what force, at the time, those words came home to my soul: ’Tis done, the great transaction’s done, I am my Lord’s, and He is mine; He drew me, and I followed on, Charmed to confess the voice divine.’”


Can Revival Happen Here? Sermon Blog Day 2 - Nehemiah

In Days of Discouraging Times: 7:4-5

Now the city was large and spacious, but the people in it were few, and the houses were not rebuilt. Then my God put it into my heart to gather the nobles, the rulers, and the people, that they might be registered by genealogy. And I found a register of the genealogy of those who had come up in the first return, and found written in it:

         The setting of Jerusalem after the rebuilding of the walls was both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. Having walls was an enormous boost, and yet as many of the wall workers traveled back to their homes in the countryside, many of the city dwellers realized just how empty it was.

      Also, with so few people actually living inside the city walls, Jerusalem remained vulnerable. Even with walls, the city needed more people inside its walls for security. Nehemiah explained that the city was large, spacious, and wide. There were a handful of people living inside the walls. There were still many houses sitting in ruins and unbuilt.

      This was a setting for discouragement and fear.  And yet, how often do we see God do some of His best work in some of the most discouraging times? What does life look like for you right now? Does it seem desolate? Does it seem uncertain? Does life seem fearful to you? Look up child of God! Our Savior specializes in doing great things amidst the discouragement.

 By Dedication to Delivering Truth:  8:1-6

“Now all the people gathered together as one man in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate; and they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses, which the Lord had commanded Israel. So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly of men and women and all who could hear with understanding on the first day of the seventh month. Then he read from it in the open square that was in front of the Water Gate [u]from morning until midday, before the men and women and those who could understand; and the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law.

So Ezra the scribe stood on a platform of wood which they had made for the purpose; and beside him, at his right hand, stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Urijah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah; and at his left hand Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbadana, Zechariah, and Meshullam. And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was standing above all the people; and when he opened it, all the people stood up. And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God. Then all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen!’ while lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

             After taking a census of all those present in Judah. Nehemiah would have assigned some of the country dwellers to reside in the city. God’s people needed more security and more people to help with that inside the city walls.

            Once the security personnel was addressed, it was time to move forward beyond the rebuild for Nehemiah. His first, most essential act, after the rebuild was worship. This said a lot about the heart of Nehemiah. Ezra stood to read the Word, and  opened the book.  This would have been the Pentateuch – the first five books of the Bible. As he opened it, people stood.  As they stood, he blessed God. As Ezra blessed God, this was the response of the people:  

            1-        They answered, “Amen, Amen!”

            2-        Lifted up their hands.

            3-        Bowed their heads

            4-        Worshiped the Lord w/ faces to the ground

          The importance and emphasis of the Word here is clear. One simply CANNOT find revival and renewal happening among God’s people apart from a dedication to teaching and preaching His Word accurately and in the power of the Holy Spirit.

            I have a book on my shelf called Why Revival Tarries.  It is a classic book by a man named Leonard Ravenhill.  His desire was to see revival in the church.  Many called him a specialist in revivalism.  His writings and preaching were bent toward this.

            Out of 20 chapters, his conclusion on why revival tarries (or waits) for the church relates to either prayer or preaching and teaching the Word.

            What is your personal involvement in God’s Word?

            Daily what is your involvement in God’s Word?

            Weekly what is your involvement in God’s Word?

            Your involvement in God’s Word can say a lot about how truly prepared you are for revival – personal and corporate.

Work That Endures Sermon Blog Day 3 Nehemiah 7

Establish the Future with God’s Plan: 7:3

“I said to them, ‘The gates of Jerusalem are not to be opened until the sun is hot. While the gatekeepers are still on duty, have them shut the doors and bar them. Also appoint residents of Jerusalem as guards, some at their posts and some near their own houses.’”

          Nehemiah laid out these details for the gate operations as he prepared things after the rebuild. First, Nehemiah instructed that the gates should not be opened until the sun was high in the sky each day. Second, during the day, when the sun was up, the gates were to be shut and barred when not in use. Finally, guards were to be appointed from the people living inside the city to cover specific watches and to guard around their homes.    

          These details were to address the functioning of the gates and security of the city beyond the rebuild. Nehemiah knew that he could not just think of what was happening in the present, but he must think of the future as well. This is a part of effectively seeing a work to endure.          

           British sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein was once visited in his studio by the eminent author and fellow Briton, George Bernard Shaw. The visitor noticed a huge block of stone standing in one corner and asked what it was for.

 “I don’t know yet. I’m still making plans.”

Shaw was astounded. “You mean you plan your work. Why, I change my mind several times a day!”

“That’s all very well with a four-ounce manuscript,” replied the sculptor, “but not with a four-ton block.”

          We must pour ourselves into the service, job, family, calling, and work God has given us in such a way that the work endures.  God’s glory, expecting enemies, follow through in leadership, and establishing a future plan are a few steps God has shown us through Nehemiah for a work that endures