You betcha there are.
All of us walk in a degree of deception, believing lies about ourselves, others and God. In this audio podcast, Mike O’Quin interviews Russell Grigsby on his study into how believers can be set free to believe the truth about themselves. It’s an honest and hopefully helpful conversation between two friends, seeking to adhere to Paul’s admonition to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 2:12).
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Is revival something God does sovereignly on His own to wake up the hearts of His people, or something that we have to cry out for in prayer before He will move? In this audio podcast, Mike O’Quin and Shane Harris dive into this question, based on Shane’s research into past spiritual awakenings. What are the internal roadblocks that hinder revival, and is there a way we can position our hearts to experience it? Lord knows we need it!
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14 (NIV).
This is the final podcast of a three-part series on spiritual awakening. We hope you will be stirred by our conversation. You can click below to listen, or search for “Faith Activators” in the iTunes store to subscribe to this podcast.
The world had never seen anything like it. During 1904 in Wales, an unprecedented spiritual awakening swept over that country, bringing over 100,000 people to Christ, filling churches and prayer meetings to overflowing, and transforming society. People were so absorbed with the things of heaven that popular sporting events had to be cancelled. The cry of people in this movement was “Lord, bend me!” asking God to soften their hearts and bend their wills to His.
In this audio podcast, Mike O’Quin interviews Shane Harris who has been researching past revivals and shares his research into this phenomenal move of God. They discuss the flavor, biblical themes and mind-boggling testimonies of this movement, hopefully to stir a greater spiritual hunger for more of God’s manifest presence in our times. In next week’s podcast, the third and final of this series, they will pull principles from both the Fulton Street Revival (last week’s podcast) and the Welsh Revival to see how it might impact us today.
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In September of 1857 in New York City, a 48-year-old businessman and lay minister named Jeremiah Lanphier was desperate for a move of God in his city. Frustrated at the lack of spiritual interest he encountered as he invited people to services at the North Dutch Reformed Church, he walked the streets and passed out flyers for a simple prayer meeting. On September 23 he opened the doors of his church on Fulton Street for the one hour prayer meeting at noontime. He was the only one who showed up.
Six months later, The New York Times reported on a great spiritual awakening that had swept the city. From an editorial on March 20th:
“The great wave of religious excitement which is now sweeping over this nation, is one of the most remarkable movements since the Reformation . . . Travelers relate that on cars and steamboats, in banks and markets, everywhere through the interior, this matter is an absorbing topic. Churches are crowded; bank-directors’ rooms become oratories; school-houses are turned into chapels; converts are numbered by the scores of thousands. In this City, we have beheld a sight which not the most enthusiastic fanatic for church-observances could ever have hoped to look upon;–we have seen in a business quarter of the City, in the busiest hours, assemblies of merchants, clerks and working-men, to the number of some 5,000, gathered day after day for a simple and solemn worship. Similar assemblies we find in other portions of the City; a theatre is turned into a chapel; churches of all sects are open and crowded by day and night.”
What happened in between?
In this audio podcast, Mike O’Quin interviews Shane Harris who has been researching the Fulton Street Revival, also known as the Layman’s Revival. The testimonies he shares are stunning. Next week we will dive into the Welsh Revival which took place in the early 1900’s in Wales, and then we’ll have one more conversation on insights gleaned and hoped-for impact for today.
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That inclement weather is a winter storm blowing in, icing over the roads and teasing Austin with a tiny bit of snow, a rarity for Central Texas. A big smile crept across my sleepy face as I had the delightful job of letting my kids know the awe-inspiring, mind-boggling, joy-inducing news: NO SCHOOL TODAY!
This is something that never happened to them when we lived in Indonesia, as snowflakes tend to avoid the equator. So for the first time ever in their lives, winter weather has halted a regular old grueling day of wake up, jump up, get your day started, learn your lessons and do your homework.
Ana sent me a text message from her room at 7 AM asking if school was cancelled. Instead of texting back the answer, I had to deliver this unbelievable message in person. I tiptoed into her room with the news at bedside and the reply was an exultant, whispery yell, “YESSSSS!!!” She’s still in there sleeping now to celebrate (8:53 AM).
Next Jordan stumbled of his room, worried that he had missed his alarm (I had gone in earlier to snatch it away). “Dad, I overslept,” he cried out.
“No you didn’t. No school today!”
What???!! Fist pumps. A twirl. A lifting of his face to offer praise to the heavens. A run to the window to confirm the news. His “YESSSSS” that was louder then Ana’s.
Stephanie and I were the most excited about Naomi’s reaction, as our princess born in the tropics can’t remember ever seeing snow in her five-year-old life. Little Naomi looked through the doorway at the white rooftops and started squealing. “No school today?” she asked.
“No school today!” we answered, even though she never has it on Fridays (that’s okay, five-year-old’s aren’t known for their calendar adeptness).
More squealing. More wide-eyed wonderment at the light, white frosting on the ground (definitely not enough to make a snowman, but impressive for us Texans nonetheless).
That feeling of waking up to a snow-cancelled school day, there’s nothing quite like it in the whole world. I remember growing up in a small town in Arkansas, listening to the radio on mornings when it snowed, and hoping against hope that the grind of school would be obliterated by a day of frolicking in white powder with my friends and making a snowman. Those were the days before the news was delivered by automated messages to your cell phone. Yet still unbounded joy then and now.
I have a couple of questions for you.
The first is, how long has it been since you have experienced joy?
Think about it for a minute. It’s been a while for me, honestly. I want to have that wide-eyed wonderment that Naomi has in her face this morning more often. I want to “fight for joy,” as John Piper says. In fact, that is one of my New Year’s resolutions, to fight for joy every single day this year, for joy to be normative in my daily life as Paul admonished us: “Be joyful always” (1 Thessalonians 5:16).
The second question is, how does God feel about you when you experience joy?
I experienced joy as a father today as my kids experienced joy, maybe even to a greater degree than theirs. I was giddy with the thought of delivering the good news. The anticipation of their faces lighting up lit up my own heart with joy.
Make God joyful. Be more joyful. Clutch on to Him more tightly this year than you ever have. Let the reality of “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10) permeate your life.
Now get out there and scrape enough snow off the driveway to make a mini-snowman.
Part two of an interview with Eric Bryant, in which we discuss the practical’s about creating the space in your cram-packed schedule for a lifestyle of outreach. Eric serves with Gateway Church in Austin, Texas, and is author of the book, “Not Like Me” (Zondervan, 2010). His passion for helping the church to un-trench and reach-out is infectious and his stories are humorous and inspiring. You can learn more about Eric and his resources at www.EricBryant.org.
Click below to listen to this interview or search for “Faith Activators” in the iTunes to subscribe to this podcast:
An interview with Eric Bryant, author of the book “Not Like Me,” which challenges the church to reach beyond its insulated subculture to love and influence a broken and diverse world. I hope you enjoy and feel as inspired by the interview as I did! I’ll post part two next week….
Click below to listen or search for “Faith Activators” in the iTunes store to subscribe to this podcast.
Spiritual transformation ain’t easy. Getting people to a deeper level of spiritual maturity take a tremendous amount of long term commitment. Listen as Paul Richardson and Mike O’Quin talk about reaching children with the Gospel and raising them up as leaders. Using his experience in Papua as a backdrop, Paul makes the case that creating discipleship environments helps sustain movements for generations to come. It’s a strategy that may surprise you….
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Listen to Paul and Mike talk about one of their heroes, a fiery little lady named Lillian Dickson who poured out her life for the tribal peoples of Taiwan. They touch on her legacy, how she founded Mustard Seed International in the 1950's, and some modern MSI heroes.
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“Yes, they’re fine,” Robby answers calmly, not seeming to really check. “The important thing to remember is just relax.”
“And what do I do with my hands? Do I leave them out or fold them across my chest?”
“Either way is fine. The important thing to remember is just relax.”
Easy for him to say. For my bored skydiving instructor this is just another day at the office. For me this is my first time to jump out of an airplane at 10,000 feet. I’m looking through the oval window of this small rumbling plane, and the ground looks very, very, very far away. And these straps don’t feel tight enough. Is it possible to slip out of this harness and plunge to my death?
I didn’t get much from Robby in the form of proper skydiving technique, although I did sign plenty of waivers before my tandem dive. The one thing he kept telling me besides relax is to not grab on to the side of the door when it’s time to jump. Just jump.
This is a fun day splurge for my son and I for his 18th birthday. We were joking about the experience down on the ground but now up here my feeling is one more of abject terror.
Seasoned instructors are strapped to their inexperienced divers, straddling two long benches inside the plane. We get the signal that we are at 10,000 feet. Their advertising promised between 8,000 and 14,000 feet and 20 seconds of straight free fall before the instructors pull the cord. By now I am thinking I would have gladly paid for lower altitude and less drop.
Robby and I awkwardly scoot forward together. He’s going to be riding piggy back all the way down and doing all the important stuff like pulling the cord of the parachute and making sure we land right side up. I’ll do my part to pray we don’t die.
My son goes first. Out the door with his instructor in a nanosecond. Poof, he’s gone. I can’t even catch a glimpse of him on his free fall down.
One more diver then it’s my turn. “Just relax,” Robby says one last time.
This is it. This is the moment. We are right at the door now, looking down at terra firma so far below.
Wait a minute. This is not the moment. This is a horrible mistake. Airplanes were not made to jump out of. I instinctively grab the sides of the door.
“Let go,” Robbie screams in my hear. “Let go.”
No turning back now. I unclasp my hands from the sides of the door and we drop like two rocks tied together.
The plunge. 20 seconds of sheer…what is this…I thought this would be awful but it’s kind of invigorating. Fun even. Flying through the air like superman.
He pulls the chute and we slow down, gliding to the landing spot together. I’m immensely enjoying the beautiful scenery. I can’t wait to get back to the ground and share the experience with Caleb. Exhilarating. That was a blast.
The once-in-a-lifetime experience for me had spiritual analogy written all over it.
Jesus called Peter to step out of the boat and walk on the water toward Him. The story is so important it is recorded three times in the Gospels: Matthew 14, Mark 6 and John 6. The Lord didn’t give Peter much in the way of instructions or waivers to sign.
“Come,” He said.
We give Peter a hard time for losing concentration and sinking so fast. But hey, at least he tried. For those brief nanoseconds a human being actually walked on water.
When Jesus saw what happened He said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?”
I don’t imagine Jesus saying that with disdain in his voice, like Peter, you’re such a loser. But more like, Peter, you have a little faith. Not bad. Now keep your eye on Me and you won’t sink next time.
Keep listening to your Instructor say relax. Or in olden language, peace be unto you. And don’t grab on to the sides of the door.
Just jump and enjoy.