Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Revival Meetings????

It has been a while since the last post. I have been busy. I have also had a great deal on my mind. It will manifest itself on the posts that will be coming over the next several days.

This one started when I reconnected with a friend after several months. I said that we should stay in touch and that it had been way too long since we had seen each other. She and her husband, like me are professional Christians. They get remuneration for their ministry.

She suggested that I invite she and her husband to preach "revival meetings." She even suggested they might do the same for Janet and me. I think you know where this is going.

I have often wondered what that term "revival meetings" is all about. I have been in revival times. I have been in meetings where revival and great repentance started. I have never seen a revival really take place in meetings specifically called "revival meetings."

I believe that revival is not event-centered. It is personality and person-centered. That Person is the Holy Spirit. While we can pray for and cry out for revival, it is the Spirit who brings it.

Scripture says that the Spirit is like the wind and moves the way He wants and when He wants. This is by no means capricious. The Spirit is intentional and moves in the most necessary and intelligent ways.

So why would someone want to try to force something with "revival meetings." While I enjoy the ocassional event or special meeting, I cannot grasp the idea of "revival meetings." Are we trying to tell God where and how to work?

I have seen revival take place at a camp fire and at a lakeside Bible Study. I have had a sense of revival during a work project among the poor. I have seen revival breakout in a living room chat. Then again, I wonder if it was revival or God manifesting Himself as He wanted.

Here is what I think. The idea of revival may not always be a correct one, if one ascribes to the theological position that a faithful God will honor with grace His faithful people. In other words, He will convict of sin and convince of the need of repentance and renewal when we really seek Him. If we are doing that regularly as a community of believers, then we will know His reviving constantly.

Does that make sense? In other words, I think that we are so faithless, if we are constantly looking for the next manifestation of the Spirit. Shouldn't we continue in our faithfulness and count it as a bonus when the real manifestations come? Isn't that what real faith and following is about? For that matter, do we really need to see manifestations if we are faithful.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thinking Too Much?

I have not blogged in a couple of weeks. This has been a fairly busy time. This past week, I was at a conference with some good friends and I was even able to make connection with an old friend I had not seen in several years. It was a good week, but one that was not really deep in conversation. Because of our surroundings, it was difficult to get into deep conversation.

I do enjoy a good debate. Most of you know that. In fact, I was in a session where a presenter made an assertion, about the millennials, that from my experience and from my research in my former appointment I found completely wrong. It is interesting when you challenge a presenter. She later said that she would talk to me about my thoughts later in the conference. We did not get that opportunity.

There were several points in the conference where I found myself disagreeing with the presenters. I did find myself in agreement with many of the presenters. I also found myself thinking that many of the thoughts presented in some of the sessions I attended were not well-thought out. I found myself playing out different scenarios in my mind where they could be right. Even though I found myself at a Christian conference, I saw what I thought were infiltrations of a world view that really was not a Kingdom view. Much of our discussion was about law suits (a reality of life) and how to discipline.

I know the subjects were important. I wondered if our response was more relationship-building than legalism if our results would be different.

I started sharing my doubts with some colleagues. One of them looked at me and said, "Larry, the problem with you is you think too much. You should just do what you are told and accept the facts as they are." There may have been some truth in there.

I have lived my life in recent years asking questions. I ask lots of them. I don't often take things at face value. It does not always sit well with people.

For much of my life, I was a person who just accepted the company line or the latest pop theology. There was always this nagging in my gut that there was much more than what I had been told and taught. In recent times, I have found that more people have expressed many of the same feelings I have had about faith and theology. They have told me that thought they were the only ones who thought that way. I am now finding that there is a silent group of people who have taken to questioning the status quo. These people are not cynics, they just want the best for the church and their lives.

There is this dynamic tension though. There are times when we need to accept by faith and follow. Yet, I believe that we have become a culture where the questioning of the government, our bosses, and other leaders is often viewed as somehow a sign of just being an unhappy person. Thinking outside the box is rarely encouraged, even though we live in a culture that is customized and ever-changing. I believe we need thinkers in this world.

Where do we strike the balance? Can we think too much? Can we over-analyze? Do we somehow stifle faith when we think too much? Are we just malcontents? I know this is somewhat of a continuation of the last post. I want to know where the balance lies.

So with all my posts I want to know, what do you think?