Forgive me. I am getting impatient. You see, I get wearied by people fretting over the future of the church. Yes, I see that there is decline in many places. Demographic change and social habits play their part. But, after all the books have been read and conferences attended on contextualisation, missional focus, fresh expressions and alternative ways of doing church, I’m left with a simple thought.
Are we all aware of how to release the power of and presence of heaven upon earth? Jesus taught his disciples about it. The early church knew what to do about it. Times of revival, throughout history, are punctuated and preceded by it. How do we do it?
It begins with repentance, turning from powerless religiosity to right relationship with God. Reading the Scriptures in a way that doesn’t just produce right doctrine but really leads us to Jesus and ushers us into the presence of our heavenly Father. It involves receiving and knowing the promise and power of the Holy Spirit, wherein that spring of living water is released within us (John 4.13), welling up to a river that flows out (John 7.38) to meet the thirst of others and bring irrigation and hope to the land we live in.
Jesus taught his disciples to pray with persistence for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. That enabling presence that melts and moulds our hearts and lives into a deeper conformity to Jesus and the holiness, righteousness and justice that pleases God. This is formed in the lives of those who are taken hold of in the Holy Spirit’s power. The path is in Scripture and patently proven in the history of the church. Repentance, persistent prayer and longing for ongoing, powerful visitation of the Holy Spirit.
The future is good because it belongs to God. Revival will come among those who long for it and persistently seek God for it. I thank God for evidence of this already among us. I look with real expectancy for more springs of renewal and fires of revival to appear. Join in persistent prayer and let us see it happen among all of us, including with you in your church, all across our land.
Rev Dr Jim Purves
Mission and Ministry Advisor