Monthly Archives: September 2015

IT’s REVIVAL TIME!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

The time has finally arrived. I am so excited. This week is our week of Revival Meetings. I hope you have been praying as I have, that this be more than just a series of meetings and that we truly experience revival. I will tell you a secret though…If you don’t come you won’t be revived. So please plan to attend each service faithfully and prayerfully. We Need Revival!

Some might think, “Do we really need revival?” I mean why disturb the status quo? I mean after all millions belong to churches in America today; publishing houses produce more and more Christian Books and Magazines; Christian Colleges number in the hundreds if not the thousands; and it seems people are always running to some type of religious activity or program. I mean what more could we really need? WE NEED REVIVAL! God’s people have become forgetful and formal. Carnality, carelessness, and compromise have stolen the testimonies of many churches and Christians in this confused, corrupt world. Our greatest need is not more men, money, or methods. The greatest need is for spiritual revival, a divine infusion of life into the church which declares itself through an inflowing, outflowing, and overflowing of the Holy Ghost. This troubled society with its tired saints must have revival. Real revival will make a difference in our churches and society at large.

There are many misconceptions about Real Revival. The very word revival suggests restoration, renewal, and return. The process that leads to revival always begins with man’s rebellion, continues with his remorse and climaxes with his repentance and restoration. The pattern and process is amplified in the Book of Judges. Revival comes from heaven. It cannot be worked up. It must be prayed down. It is not man’s doing but God’s miracle. Methods, organizations, and publicity are not revival and do not produce revival. Only revival that comes from the bosom of God can awaken, arouse, and activate God’s people. Emotionalism and enthusiasm are not revival, although emotions and enthusiasm are certainly involved when God moves among His people. Evangelism, simply sharing the gospel, is not revival. Genuine revival that results in a love for lost men everywhere always manifests itself in evangelism, but evangelism alone is not revival. Education is not revival. Learning how to get the job done by mental discipline and moral principles is a poor substitute for heaven-sent revival. Enlargement is not revival. Church growth alone is not an indication of real revival. Though the church usually does grow when real revival is experienced.

While there are many misconceptions about real revival, Real Revival doe have certain mandates if you will. Real revival commences with brokenness. Believers must get alone with God. He speaks and they tremble at His Word. There is conviction, confession, and cleansing. Revival begins with God’s people. Revival continues with beseeching. Prayer is a vital element in the channel of revival. When we pray we commune with God. No work of God is of lasting value without prayer. Revival continues with a burden. After being confronted with our sin, after beseeching our Heavenly Father for cleansing, we are then burdened for the will of God. We want more than anything else to find, follow, and finish God’s will for our lives. Revival culminates in behavior. Revival climaxes in a change of behavior. Saints turn from stubborn, slack, and sinful ways to obedience. When saints obey, then Jesus is exalted in our hearts, our heads, and our habits. Revival that does not affect our beliefs and our behavior is man-made, not heaven-sent. The mandates for a heaven-sent revival are set forth in 2 Chronicles 7:14, “If my people which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

So with all the misconceptions about real revival and in light of the mandates for real revival, how will we know when Real Revival has come? Well when Real Revival comes you will notice certain revival manifestations. Some undeniable traits of revival are a humble spirit, hatred of sin, hunger for the Scriptures, holiness in saints, honesty among servants, and a harvest of souls. We are rightly concerned about church growth, evangelism, youth conflicts, Christian schools, family life, and discipleship training. Let us add one more concern—the biblical teaching on revival. John Wesley may have handed us the revival key when he said, “Give me one hundred preachers who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not a straw whether they be clergymen or laymen. They alone will shake the gates of Hell and set the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth.”

Real revival is desperately needed in our Church and in many of the Churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must not settle for the counterfeits. Genuine revival will make a difference. It will disturb the status quo. Much of that which is called revival in the world today has produced no change of behavior. The evidences of real revival among the saints include a humble spirit, hatred of sin, hunger for the Scriptures, holiness in the saints, honesty among servants, and a harvest of souls. When God’s people get serious about their spiritual condition and meet God’s conditions for revival, real revival will come from God.

Lord, Please Send Us Real Revival!

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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COMING HOME!

The Pastors Pen Logo smallDear Church Family,

There is something to be said for coming home. A homecoming is almost always a reason to celebrate. The church homecoming is no different. The service is themed and directed to be a celebration to those who founded this wonderful Church and to those who have helped contribute to it on going and wellbeing as a body of believers.

Today, Sunday September 20, 2015 we celebrate HOMECOMING 2015. That means a former pastor is coming back and you bring a covered dish to church. Typically a church homecoming is held annually and includes a meal. You might be a Baptist if you believe you’re supposed to bring a covered dish to heaven when you die.

Typically a church’s homecoming is celebrated around the church’s anniversary. It’s a time when former members come “back home” to see old friends and eat fried chicken. Scripture teaches to look forward (2 Peter 3:13), but homecoming’s a time to remember the past, recognize the church’s present and look expectantly toward the future of the church.

Celebrating your church’s past is important.

Every year in the U.S. some 4,000 churches close their doors and go out of business. Remembering what the Lord has done in the past is important. Joshua 4:6-7 says, “In the future, when your children ask you, ‘What do these stones mean to you?’ you should tell them.” As the nation of Israel crossed the Jordan River and entered the Promised Land for the first time, 12 stones were selected from the river as a memorial of God leading the Twelve Tribes of Israel into their land.

Some say Homecomings originated from college football games. The previous Scripture indicates they may have started with the Children of Israel coming home to the Promised Land.

The Homecoming game was a game to get the alumni back on campus – beginning in 1911. Three universities claim the first homecoming: Baylor, Illinois and Missouri.

“Jeopardy,” the TV show, declares Missouri held the first homecoming where alumni came back for a parade and football game. The first church homecoming was celebrated shortly after this in an African-American congregation in North Carolina.

The church held an event to bring back distant family and friends for a weekend get-together. Homecoming would also include a visit to the cemetery.

The greatest homecoming in Scripture occurred in Luke 15:20. The parable of the prodigal son is about a younger son who squandered his inheritance, and his father welcomed him home with open arms. The father was outside looking for his son to return.

This parable is a picture of God. He’s the Father who waits outside late in the night for His children to return. When the child came home, (The child represents us as the wayward lost form God) at no point did the Father say, “I forgive you BUT…” Thankfully the Father forgave and restored his lost son who had come home.

I remember during college going to a ballgame in North Carolina and being delayed – this is before everyone had a cell phone – and returning home at 1 a.m. to discover my dad on the porch waiting. If you’ve wandered from home, God is the good Father welcoming you back.

Our church should celebrate its past and push forward towards the future.

Church ministry changes. The events and programs that were effective in 1947 likely aren’t effective 69 years later in 2015.

Churches need a “whatever it takes” attitude for reaching their community. Recently I was talking with a member of a church whose attendance was declining. He predicted in a few years their church would close, but they wanted to go out gracefully. How sad. This man has already given up on God’s desire to revitalize their congregation.

You need to know your church’s past.

If your church consistently baptized more people 30 years ago than today, something’s wrong. God hasn’t changed. The Gospel doesn’t fail. The purpose of the local church is to glorify God through disciple-making. This begins by leading someone to Christ.

Do you and your church have a continuous history of leading people to Christ?

One of the best ways to reach your community with homecoming is to contact all the people who have recently visited – and non-attending members – and invite them to Homecoming. Thank them for visiting or being a member and remind them about the upcoming homecoming service and dinner afterwards.

Christians should use every chance to invite unchurched and de-churched members “back home” to hear the “Old Time Story.”

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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Doing What Counts?

The Pastors Pen Logo small

Dear Church Family,

Let me begin by addressing a question I have been asked lately. The question is, “Can we make the print here larger?” The answer is yes, sometimes. The size of the type often depends on the length of Pastor’s Pen. Sister Samantha tries her best to keep the print readable while including the entire article here. However, if the article type is too small here, it is most often published online in the Pastor’s Pen Blog which has a direct link on our church web page. There it is in normal font size and easily readable. I will also post things there from time to time which do not get published in the Pastor’s Pen here in print. So go online and check out the Pastor’s pen there.

By the way, and for your info…I received and email last week while in Charlotte from a lady named Joanne. She lives in Pensacola, FL.  She wrote, “I invited Jesus into my heart to be my personal Saviour, August 14. I have been following your ministry on your website through bulletins and Pastor’s Pen. You site gave me good insight into how to receive Jesus into my heart. I am so thankful for your church and its ministry. I have started church and am about to be baptized. I just wanted to share my journey with you.”

She went on to say she is now writing daily devotions and is going to send me a sample. I just praise the Lord for what He is doing through the ministry of this church.

Mark 9:34-35 But they kept silent: for by the way they had disputed with one another, which one of them was the greatest. And He sat down, and called the twelve, and said to them, “If any man desires to be first, he shall be the last of all and servant of all.”

Once there was a king who decided to set aside a special day to honor his greatest subject. When the big day arrived, a large gathering took place in the palace courtyard and our finalists were brought forward.

The first person was a wealthy philanthropist. This man was deserving of the king’s honor because of his great humanitarian efforts. He had given much of his wealth to the poor, building orphanages, schools and hospitals throughout the land. The second was a celebrated physician. This outstanding doctor was deserving of honor for rendering his faithful and dedicated service to the sick for many years and discovering medicines that saved many lives. The third was a distinguished judge. He was noted for his wisdom, his fairness and his many a brilliant decision.

The last person presented before the king was an elderly woman. Her manner was quite humble, as was her dress. She hardly looked the part of someone who would be honored as the greatest subject in the kingdom. What chance could she possibly have, when compared to the other three, who had accomplished so very much?

The king was intrigued, to say the least and was somewhat puzzled by her presence. He asked who she was. Then the answer came: “Well, my king, do you see the philanthropist, the doctor, and the judge over here? She was their teacher!”

This woman had no wealth, no fortune, and no title, but countless lives were helped, healed and changed through her giving.

We never know whose lives we’re touching. I’m sure someone prayed — someone gave — someone shared the Gospel with some of the greatest evangelists, preachers and givers we know.

Let’s serve the Lord by sowing unselfishly into the lives of the people he’s put in our path — so that they may become great in God’s Kingdom!

We have great opportunity to do that in this new Church Year with our newly elected church officers. Pray for them and the church as a whole.

In Christian Love and With Many Prayers,

Pastor Rick Signature

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