Thursday, September 24, 2009

Engage- Go & Pray

Yesterday was a special day in this country. A day that is celebrated each year on the last Wednesday in September. I'm talking about See You at the Pole day. This is an incredible opportunity for students to exercise our freedom by surrounding the flag pole at their school and pray. I had the privilege of joining the local high school for this event and its great to see students joining together for prayer. This year's theme was "Engage- Go & Pray" and focused on the story of King Josiah. I felt that this was a great opportunity to preach on the subject to tie it in with the day's event.

First of all, what all comes to your mind when you hear the word revival? When I was a kid and probably until the past several years I always thought of a series of meetings we had at church that to me seemed to last forever (I mean like Squints on The Sand Lot saying FOR-EV-ER). That was my view of revival and while those gatherings do fit the definition, I think we all probably know that our nation, communities, and churches are in desperate need of the type of revival that is a spiritual reawakening. We even hear it mentioned a lot in church in the form of prayer requests. I heard a quote this week that said something to the fact of "In order for revival to take place, there must first be vival". We all know that vival isn't a word but in order for a reawakening to occur, people must have been awake in Christ in the first place. I also heard some startling statistics that bothered me. 80% of churches in America are declining (a church can have increasing numbers and still be declining). Also each year in America 3500-4000 churches close their doors. Why is this happening? We need revival and most revivals in the history of the world began with young people or teenagers. King Josiah began one of the greatest revivals in the Old Testament at the age of 16.

We looked at the beginnings of this in 2 Chronicles 34:1-19. King Josiah began to live a life of radical obedience. This means that he was willing to get rid of whatever- and I mean whatever was a hinderance to his and everyone's spiritual growth. This means he tore down the idols and altars that had caused them to stray from God. Are you willing to live a life of radical obedience, getting rid of anything that is bringing you down? It could be anything from friends to television to your cell phone, etc. Even if it isn't something that is necessarily bad but is keeping you from growing closer to God, then it has become a bad thing and you need to get rid of it.

In verse 8 King Josiah decides to restore the temple and during the process they find the Book of Law (Genesis through Deuteronomy)-verse 14. After it was read to him in verse 19 he tore his robes because he realized the kingdom hadn't been following the law the way it should and it grieved him. We should feel the same way about sin. We should be grieved and distressed about it.

My desire is to see this generation stand up for God like never before. I believe that God is calling this generation to do this. It's time for us get serious about our faith, get rid of anything that is holding us back, and grow closer with God. For revival to begin in our churches, schools, communities, etc. it must first begin with each and every one of us.

The verse that this year's SYATP theme was derived is 2 Kings 22:13a that Message puts this way "Go and pray to God for me and for the people..." This is King Josiah's statement after he realizes their disobedience against the law. In other words the king was saying in order for us to change, we have to pray for each other. This is what ministry is about- lifting/building each other up. We must pray for each other. We must engage in prayer making it a priority. When we do this and get rid of the things in our life that are holding us back, then revival begins.

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