Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#245-"If we save just One soul, this will all be worth it."

I am averaging  0.333333333 ( Repeating, of course) posts per month over the last three months and yet the little stat thermometer says I am getting 150  visits still a day (save Thanksgiving)? Perhaps they are all just computers visiting my site a random and reading about these strange people called "Apostolic," in hopes that if one day they can speak in tongues, they too will also became humans....

Second confession: I am starting a multi-person blog.... This is challenging. I am having to do things. I don't like this. If you or anyone  you know who knows anything about writing code in Wordpress, and is okay with getting absolute zero monies for their work, then please contact me.  I will pay you via means of a personal handwritten letter and/or a collage. Because I am making collages lately man.



When I was a kid and not long ago, there were/are many whispers around the church about revival. The revival was coming. We knew this. You still know this. The revival still has not come.  The revival is coming man.

But revival could not be created by human hands. This is the problem. If you try causing revival, the revival will not come. Because you can't trick God about revival. You can't go and make a flashy church service to get kids to come and think they feel God when all they were really feeling was a pretty soloist on the stage singing softly in a darkened room about how much God loves us. Because That's just not cool. And God won't dig it. So even if you get people to come to the church, it may not be revival. Because what the increase in numbers really means is just how eager you are to get people in their seats to convince yourself that the revival is here.

So if the revival was coming, God would have to do it out of his free power, you just had to sit and wait....

(and I'm all like, "Yo neo-calvinists, isn't it pointless to pray and fast for revival if God is sovereign?" Someone explain this to me)...

Except we couldn't wait, because if the revival is decided by God, church would be so boring....

We had to do something!

So we would talk and scream and sing....

The Revival was near. Get excited. Give high 5's. Dream of the pulpit. Rescue little puppies. The revival is coming. Even if it wasn't really coming. Even if the revival still hasn't come. The revival was coming. The Revival is fast approaching.

And if the revival still hasn't come, blame it on the spiritual demons oppressing our regions (But I thought we just said God is the one who dictates the revival and not demonic spirits)...

And after a year, we have a whole new string of prophets coming to our church telling us that the revival is coming. And we're like yes. And the prophets are like, yes! And we're like Truth! And they're like, "yeah, we know." And then in one accord, we shout "REVIVAL!"

And the revival, must have gone to the wrong address. Because we are still here. And the revival is not here. But it's coming. It's on it's way. The revival must be sidetracked with visiting an old aunt or something.

And eventually, we start hearing the same sermons twice from two different prophets five years apart. And their both about revival. And one person says, this is confirmation from the Lord that the revival is still on it's way. We just need to wait. But something is getting suspicious to you.

People are leaving.

Friends are leaving.

They are going to the church elsewhere.

Their departure is that neighboring churches revival. At least one half of the Apostolic churches in the area are having a revival. Sure your church is shrinking, but the revival is somewhere close!

And the pastor is saying things. Encouraging things. About those who stay will be apart of the revival. Something about remnant. We are waiting. Anticipating.

Except if people left. And some arrive. That doesn't equate to revival. The summation of this process is a little less than zero.

And yet if a new family comes from a different church because they didn't like the stance on movie theaters in their old church, we conclude, "THIS IS PROOF THAT THE REVIVAL IS HERE!"

Two months later they are telling us "It's coming!"

After awhile we are strangling each other. Biting hands. Saying swear words when we stub our toe.

The Revival is coming...

And eventually, we get tired...

And someone gets sick of not doing anything...

So someone suggests we pray and fast...

And someone is like "I thought God decides the revival."

And the other person is like, "Yeah, but if God wants to do something and our flesh is in the way, he can't do something."

And I'm confused.

And we pray. And fast. A lot. Twice a year. For long ranges of time. Prayer is awesome. Things happen. We are praying for the revival. No one is coming.....

Months of fasting. Months of prayer meeting. Months of prayer lists. We are working so hard....

We are getting red faced about it. Trying to convince ourselves that somehow we can spin the absence of the revival as a good thing. We just need more Faith! More Prayer! More Holy Ghost Power!

And i'm sure God's chuckling. And if he's not chuckling, I am chuckling...

Because there's the book of Acts.

The Book of Acts is our favorite book...

And this kind of rhetoric about the "Soon coming revival" isn't there. Because the revival is here. it's never left. It's not an event at all. Jesus died. He rose. Acts 2 happened.  That's it.

To silly ourselves about some kind of mystical revival to confirm how awesome we are is absurd.

And here's the swan song of it all:

There will be that day when a lot of people will be investing their time and effort into a special church project. Perhaps a play. Perhaps a children't service. Perhaps a series of "revival" services.

And the saints will be working hard. And sweats will be broken....

And just before this special event takes place. In this case a Youth Rally. There will be a prayer meeting. And the leader of this event has told us all along, that God had confirmed that this special service and the scheduled bowling function afterwards was the Will of the Lord and as being under God's authority, this event was sure to head us on the correct path to saving souls....

And we nod our head, kind of like YEAH! (And a voice in the back of our head says, "haven't we heard this before."

And as everyone is secretly questioning the actual confirmation of the Lord in their head, the main leader of the event hears this whispers within everyone's head. Well he doesn't actually hear them. But he knows that everyone is thinking this because he just gave the same speech in this prayer meeting that we had all heard 50 times before from different ministers about this Revival character.

And I'll say here and now, that if this Revival character is always running late for our expectations and seems to have a 1,001 and excuses of why he hasn't come yet, then maybe I don't want to be this Revival character's friend at all...

And that's when we hear the Event leader say with a choked up throat, "Listen to me kids... If we save just One soul.... This willl all be worth it. Just one! One soul. I don't need a revival . I just want to be in God's will. And God's will may be to have us all hear just to save that one soul."

And I'm laughing by now.

Except the saints are nodding their head...


One Soul?

I don't have a problem with one soul being saved.

But come on. You know you have lost when you are alluding to this imaginary "one" in your mind.

Which allows enormous amount of energy to be spent working and driving to get these events going. All for the "One" soul who may not even exist....

And during the service...

That One soul never came....

And perhaps that One soul would have came if we tried not being so headstrong about "how church was to be done" but whatever.

I'm leaving church now. Revival was a terrible virtual friend.

And as much energy we spend trying to "wait for the revival" and trying to reach that "One" we could have stumbled on something that actually worked. And it would have made us uncomfortable. But we wouldn't have to wonder how to spin the story in the mean time.

Peace out, I'm going to the movie theater.


  1. Per usual...great post! I'm one of the ones that religiously checking back on SAP to see if the "revival" came or not and hoping that it brought you back posting. I'm guessing this post is evidence of the coming revival.

    Anywho, what you said is so true. The revival is here, it never left, and when we realize that we just simply have to go reap the harvest then our perspectives will change.

    It reminds of me how the Jews are still looking for the Messiah when he's already come and gone and is on his way back.

  2. I would agree with you Joel, however I spent all of my youth and some of my early adulthood in the UPC (over 20 years total) I felt some tingles and few jingles here and there enough to know that God is real, but in truth i spent most of my later years fighting of attacks from church members. If what is going on in these assemblies that you are referring to is being classified as revival then I think we are using two different definitions. Revival is the bringing back to life of the half dead, revival is not about souls it never has been. Revival is for the Church as a whole. It certainly isn't a denominational thing (not that your are making that claim) Revival is a drawing out of dead religion, religion that doesn't have time, or interest, or concern for the things of God. Real revival is about bringing us out of dull and dead religion , it is about representing Christ, about representing His interests not our own dressed as God's will. It is about being hungry, humble, and teachable people. Unless the apostolic world has had a whirlwind of change in the last year (and I suspect otherwise)I don't see it happening for them anytime soon. You're right when you say revival isn't an event, it is actually an attitude. We live in a time of humanism, it is rampant in the Church, I would call it a plague but at least you try to stop a plague. I don't see revival happening to the churches you describe anytime soon. Joel I have to nsay that I am a big fan of Stuff Apostolic s Like, I in truth disagree with you as often as I agree but I do respect your stance and your willingness to broach the kind of things that got me asked to not come back to a church we both know. I'll leave you with two quick qoutes and then I'm out.
    "Some Christians foolishly declare, 'If God wanted us to have a revival, He would have sent it by now.' They assume everything God wants will happen - regardless of our own choices."
    Steve Gray

    "Many of us are afraid of a God who comes down from heaven and interferes with our daily routine. We prefer a powerless God who leaves us alone."
    Steve Gray

  3. (and I'm all like, "Yo neo-calvinists, isn't it pointless to pray and fast for revival if God is sovereign?" Someone explain this to me)...

    I think prayer in its real form is thank You, I do not know when this will be or that, and it does not matter when, where or how. reasoning is turning one to doubting just like how adam and Eve were deceived. Just beleive and be, then the Holy Ghost can do his job through you and much more than one will hear the truth and be saved. No person can do the saving, no church, no pastor no one but god through the Holy Ghost that lives in you waiting for you to say please live through me, and then say thank you for you know this will be. The branch on a tree can never produce fruit, it can only bear it, it is the same for us we are the branches John 15. Ask to understand this die in the flesh and come alive to the Spirit of truth. For no flesh in his sight can ever please God and it is not about pleasing God, it is about abiding in God. We are the responders and God is the initiator. So again all prayers are now in past tense form saying thank you abba Father
    Hope to have cleared things up a bit Howard

  4. I think this is interesting. I believe the revival isn't happening because of faulty doctrine, a misunderstanding about salvation, twisted scriptures, and it all trickling down to the congregation. The best thing God ever did for me is wake me up to the realization of what salvation truly is...not some emotional hype/hypnotism at the altar to coach you to "speak in tongues." The Bible is very clear about salvation. Why would God send a revival to people who will preach a false message? I'm at a non-apostolic church now, and I can tell you, there is true revival. I see souls being saved and lives being changed on a daily basis. And get this - we don't even have an altar call. Gasp! It's an unconditional love shown by Christians, and a true message of GRACE - not works - that changes hearts. I love this website...keep it comin'! :)