Monday, July 18, 2011

Desperate Prayers!

This last week I got the awesome opportunity to attend Desperation with our youth group (Fusion Student Ministry – Pastor Andy’s blog HERE & twitter HERE). Desperation is a youth conference put on by New Life Church in Colorado Springs, CO. Really it isn’t JUST a youth conference, it’s more than that. Now I know that may seem cliché, but there is such a focus on prayer and obedience to the Holy Spirit, that it isn’t just an event. I loved being able to go. I went as one of the leader/chaperons. Realistically I probably required a chaperon more than the students, but Andy let me lead… I even got to drive the 12 passenger van.

When we arrived Pastor Andy gave each of the leaders a journal that he had wrote each of the student’s names on their own page. He asked the leaders to pray for the students and to write our specific prayers for each student on that student’s page. I thought this was an amazing idea. I did pray for the entire group, but I felt led to pray some specific stuff for those 11 students that rode in my van. Here are my prayers for those students:

All of them:
The first thing that I prayed for them is that all of them would aggressively seek purity. Of course I meant that they would maintain sexual purity and that they would “flee from sexual immorality.” But I also prayed that they would seek purity for their hearts (emotional connections and what they attach themselves to) and purity of mind (what they subject themselves to in entertainment and the stuff they choose to believe).

The ladies:
The first thing I prayed specific to them was that they would believe what God says about them. I prayed Psalm 45:10 – 15 over them. This is what it says:

Listen to me, O royal daughter; take to heart what I say. Forget your people and your family far away. For your royal husband delights in your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. The princess of Tyre will shower you with gifts. The wealthy will beg your favor. The bride, a princess, looks glorious in her golden gown. In her beautiful robes, she is led to the king, accompanied by her bridesmaids. What a joyful and enthusiastic procession as they enter the king’s palace!

God is telling them that they are royal daughters of the King. That they are beautiful and that God delights in them. That all they need to do is come to Him.

Second I prayed that they know and accept that they are worth being pursued by their King and that they can find their approval in Him and not anyone else.

The Guys:

My first I prayer for them was that they know they were made to be leaders. That when they lead the way that God desires them to, people will be led to Christ. I prayed that they know they are able to all things in Christ when they submit to Him.

Second I prayed that they know who God has called them to be. That they would grow into men that resemble Jesus. I prayed Psalm 45:16 & 17 over them. It says:

Your sons will become kings like their father. You will make them rulers over many lands. I will bring honor to your name in every generation. Therefore, the nations will praise you forever and ever.

God is telling them that they are sons of the King. That they are meant to be kings. That when they lead the way God has called them to nations will praise God.

A lot of my prayer for the group had to do with where they find their identity and worth. I want so desperately for them to find it fully in Jesus. I got to see this amazing group of young people truly and genuinely engage God. Some had a more outward expression of that interaction, but you could see all of them enter into that place where they met with Jesus. Sadly a lot of people discount this generation. They say that there aren’t a lot of opportunities left for them, they’re too lazy or unmotivated, but the young people I saw are headed to the heart of Jesus. This generation is poised for great things and I’m stoked to see what God does in and through them.

In the end, my prayer remains that they would leave Desperation wanting more of Jesus, not because of an emotional response to a moment of passion, but because they encountered Him; but because they beheld His majesty and glory and they can’t do anything but seek after Him! Look out world… they’re coming!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Who Needs "Revival"? Part 2 (Guest Blogger: Thomas Hogan)

This wasn't meant to to be a multi-post blog (never is), but I got to talking with Thomas (Blog love HERE) and here's part 2.  We had this brilliant idea that it would be a "conversation" of sorts.  I post one, he posts one, I post one, he... well you get the idea.  So as much as this is a conversation between us, feel free to add your thoughts. Here's Thomas' thoughts.

First reference previous post (HERE).

Revival is for the dying folks. They literally need to “be revived.” In this context it fits that if you have a dying body or a dying vision, that only the resurrecting Spirit of God can bring them back to life. The last blog was an indictment on using the word revival with little to no regard of its actual implication. A great point is made when we consider that the active vibrant life of the believer in Christ is in no need of “resurrecting”, because it should already be experiencing “life, and life more abundantly”.

A more appropriate word for what the church as a corporate body desires to see is “an awakening”; a literal groundswell of salvation and drawing of hearts back to the Father. Like the old worship song “Salvation Spring Up From the Ground”. When we refer to “revival” this is the more precise idea we are thinking of. The idea of a dying church is very unattractive but also appropriate in some cases (I pray not yours).

Of Course, this is only half of the story. If revival isn’t what we truly need (unless you are dying then by all means desperately seek out resurrection) then what is it inside of us that cries out for an “increasing measure”? I believe that the Power of God and the life of God are organically attracted to seeing the “Movement” of God.  

[Practical application of that statement:] God gives us His power when we ask for the Holy Spirit. As we submit our lives to His will and grow in obedience, the Holy Spirit begins to move more actively.

The combination of life and power create a stirring in us to see the active will of God played out in the community around us (spiritual and physical). This is a rudimentary introduction to what we refer to as “missional”. That early church saw revival because it was new to the life of God. And they saw “an awakening” that affected everything around them because they fully committed themselves to the unique call on each person’s life.  



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Who Needs "Revival"?

Yesterday I had an amazing meeting with Pastor Andy Hazlet. It was so encouraging and brought with it an excitement for some potential opportunities to serve God and His people. One of the main topics that came up was revival. Now I know the word revival is met with thoughts of great prayer meetings in far off places and a time passed and we view it as something so distant we can’t experience it. Or we swing the other way and believe that we can schedule it… “Join us for our 3 day Youth Revival!” But both those are so far off. The truth is this… while “revival” is sometime necessary, if we steward our relationship with Jesus well, it really isn’t needed. WHAT?!! Yeah I said that. Here’s what C.H. Spurgeon says,

“It is a sorrowful fact that many who are spiritually alive greatly need reviving. It is sorrowful because it is a proof of the existence of much spiritual evil. A man in sound health with every part of his body in a vigorous condition does not need reviving. He requires daily sustenance, but reviving would be quite out of place.”

What he’s saying is those that are “spiritually alive” (saved by the atoning work of Christ) need daily sustenance and if they receive that, revival is wasted on them. In order to understand that you have to get what revival means. defines it as, “restoration to life, consciousness, vigor, strength, etc.” With that definition in mind revival is for those in The Church. It is meant for those of God’s people that have allowed the carnal world to seep back into their hearts and have so distanced them self from the sustaining and changing power of the Holy Spirit that they need their vigor for truth to be restored.

But, if we consistently and intentionally seek the sustainment of God’s truth and seek to be continually molded into Christ’s likeness, revival isn’t needed. A life full of the power of God doesn’t need to be revived. Here’s Spurgeon again,

“For a church to be constantly needing revival is the indication of much sin, for if it were sound before the Lord it would remain in the condition into which a revival would uplift its members. A church should be a camp of soldiers, not an hospital of invalids.”

Revival is only necessary to bring us back to the place we were always intended to be. That isn’t to say that revival doesn’t benefit the lost. Here’s the truth, when Christians are invigorated (or reinvigorated) with the power of the Holy Spirit, “they live more consistently, they make their homes more holy and more happy, and this leads the ungodly to envy them, and to enquire after their secret.” When our hearts are quickened by the power of the Holy Spirit, the result is “longing, loving prayers for sinners.”

Today we may well need a revival in The Church. But here is what I truly believe, if men begin being Men (the Men that God calls us to be – here’s my previous blog series on it HERE) and they would seek God on a consistent and intentional basis, then amazing God things WILL happen. Community will be built, the hungry fed, the sick healed, the broken restored and the lost brought home.

I’m excited for this next season of community at Element. Keep your eyes peeled for some amazing Community Groups this season (I plan to be leading one that I pray is huge for the guys of our church).
I’ll end this with Spurgeon again…

“The true vital spark of heavenly flame comes from the Holy Spirit, and the priests of the Lord must beware of strange fire. There is no spiritual vitality in anything except as the Holy Spirit is all in all in the work; and if our vitality has fallen near to zero, we can only have it renewed by him who first kindled it in us. We must go to the cross and look up to the dying Savior, and expect that the Holy Spirit will renew our faith and quicken all our graces.”