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Revival in the Age of Instant Coffee

Coffee w TAIWWe live in an age where we want everything fast… instantly, as it were.

Like coffee.

Sure, it smells and tastes like coffee. It may even have enough caffeine to give you a good jolt. But to most discerning coffee aficionados, they can smell a cup of instant coffee coming a mile away, and they are NOT happy about it. To them, there is nothing like the taste of a fresh-brewed cup made from freshly-ground coffee beans from some exquisite place, where the air, soil, and atmosphere are perfect for the growing of those sacred beans., Yes sir, the true coffee-snob can tell you what kind of coffee it is, where it was grown, and a variety of facts about the country of origin.

So why do we think God is any less discerning?

Most of us want things fast and on our terms, and in most cases if we are honest, the spiritual life is no exception. The only problem is that anything related to a Spirit-filled life is not dictated by our wills, whims, and calendars, but by the Holy Spirit of God Himself. He has His timetable (“a day is as a thousand years…”), and is not at the mercy of our schedules.

Azusa StreetMost people who run in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles are familiar with the Azusa Street Revival that began in 1906, considered by many to be the beginning of the modern Pentecostal movement. Led by William J. Seymour, the Azusa Street Revival continued for several years, and included Holiness congregants, Baptists, Mennonites, Quakers, Presbyterians, and others. However, many in our country may not be familiar with another outbreak of the Spirit, in Europe, that preceded Azusa Street…

The Awakening in Wales.

In her book, The Awakening in Wales (and some  of the hidden springs), Jessie Penn-Lewis documents the Welsh Revival (1904-1905), a mighty move of the Holy Spirit that took the country of Wales by storm. During that period, approximately 150,000 people gave their lives to Christ, in a country with a population of approximately just over 2 million. Miracles, signs, wonders, and incredible outpourings of the Holy Spirit happened during that time.

So what prompted such radical transformation? What was it that made the Welsh Revival different from the “revival” happening at the church down the street from your house right now? What were the markings of this mighty move of God? In The Awakening in Wales, a few points repeatedly come to the surface…

They prayed and prepared.

Not just days and months.

In the YEARS leading up to 1904, Christians in Wales joined in passionate prayer, believing and asking God for an outpouring of His Holy Spirit. “Prayer-circles” were formed and people met at specific times to pray earnestly and deliberately, for hours on end. People traveled from place to place and spread the “fire” they had gotten in one place or meeting to other towns and villages. Prayer-circles began to spring up simultaneously and spontaneously, not just in Wales, but in other countries as well.

As well as prayer, many who participated did not wait until the events of 1904-1905 to seek after the Spirit of God. Many came to the meetings, having already been filled with the Holy Spirit. Much of this was due to the fervent prayer that went on ahead of time; people seeking after God with no reservations or selfish agendas. They didn’t wait for a meeting or a moment for something to happen; the further outpouring of the Spirit of God at the meetings was a by-product of the months and years of preparation that had already taken place.

There was unity.

In Wales, the people of God came together. Churches set aside denominational labels and walls for the sake of a common goal: A mighty move of the Holy Spirit. In I Corinthians 1:10, Paul appeals to the believers in Corinth…

I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.

Penn_LewisBut the unity was not just between the people of Wales. Jessie Penn-Lewis stated…

“The object-lesson that stands out the clearest, and speaks the loudest, to the Church of God, is the fact that the Spirit of God moved upon the unsaved in converting power as soon as the Christians in a particular church, or specific meeting, were in harmony with God.” ~ from The Awakening in Wales

The people were in unity and harmony with God. And make no mistake about it… being in unity with the King of Kings is all about being in His will, His timing, and His purposes.

The message of the Cross of Calvary was central.

 

“As we recall the conditions preceding the first Pentecost, we cannot forget that CALVARY WAS A TERRIBLE FACT to each one of the little company in the upper room.

There is no Pentecost without a preceding Calvary.” ~ Jessie Penn-Lewis

The message of the Cross, and Jesus’ sacrifice on Calvary, was the central theme of the Revival. Penn-Lewis went on to say…

“The world has seen before its eyes that the preaching of the Cross is in very truth the dynamic of the Gospel, and is the energy of God to actually and really save men from the bonds of sin. And what is of greater consequence, the Church of God has been rallied, as by a voice from Heaven, to the banner of the Cross.”

Others also explained…

“We have been critics of the Bible when we should have been devotees. We have preached Christ as an ideal of sacrifice, but have left out His atonement for sin. Now, thank God, there is a return to the Book, and to Calvary…

The Revival has brought us back to the Cross of Christ.”

It is the Cross that saves. It is the message of the Cross, and the power of the Holy Spirit that convicts men and women of their sin, and their need for a Savior. The recipe for revival is actually a fairly simple one: Prayer, unity in the Spirit, and the Message of the Cross. The fruit of that was evidenced in the more than 150,000 souls who entered the Kingdom of Heaven through the principality of Wales in 1904-1905.

Seriously.

The revival we speak of is not going to happen until we get serious about seeking God through prayer, fasting, repentance, and unity of the Spirit. God told His people in Jeremiah 29:13…

And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.

All of our heart means we check our schedules at the door.

All of our heart means we set aside our agendas and our plans.

All of our heart requires singular focus, with a constant eye on the prize.

So are you ready for revival? A REAL revival? A revival that changes the course of a nation, and ushers souls into the Kingdom in droves? A destiny-changing moment in time that is more than an event advertised on a marquee?

I am.

It’s time to put on the “coffee pot”…

Let it brew nice and slow…

Allow the aroma to fill the air…

And take time to prepare something worthy of the King.

Dancing In The Latter Rain

tn-wildfires2For those of us living in East Tennessee, last year made us understand why rain is so desperately important. From the Smokies to the Tennessee Valley, wildfires as a result of the lack of rain brought destruction and death to many in our region. While Chattanooga faced wildfires up in the mountains surrounding our city, in places like Pigeon Forge, Gatlinburg, and Sevierville, hundreds lost homes, businesses, possessions, and some their very lives.

Rain brings nourishment to plants. Rain provides protection against fire. Rain cleans the air and atmosphere, and provides clarity and refreshing — not just to our air alone, but also to our spirits. How many times have we all experienced the lifting of our spirits after a shower or storm, to go outside as the sun breaks through, revealing an earth refreshed and alive?

The Bible talks about “the Latter Rain” several times throughout its 66 books. Now, in the natural order, the latter rain was the second of two rains received in Israel for the harvest. The early rain prepared the ground and watered the seed, while the latter rain brought the wheat crop to maturity and prepared the vineyards and olive groves for the wine and oil harvests. However, in the spiritual dimension, the latter rain always has to do with Israel’s obedience, and the subsequent possession of their land.

We can see, even in our recent history, that there have been two latter rain movements in our world…

  • In the late 19th and Early 20th Centuries, The Balfour Declaration was a letter from the United Kingdom’s Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour to Walter Rothschild, 2nd Baron Rothschild, in which Balfour confirmed support for an Israeli homeland.

balfour_portrait_and_declaration

It was around this time that the Pentecostal Movement began to break out amongst Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, being highlighted with such movements as Azusa Street.

  • Between 1948 and 1967. When the State of Israel was established in 1948, surrounding Arab nations and organizations mounted attacks over the subsequent years (the Arab-Israeli War, the Six-Day War, etc.). During those same years, as Israel took possession of their land, we saw social justice and civil rights happen under people like Martin Luther King, Jr. We saw revival happen under the likes of Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and A.A. Allen. Events such as these became the forerunners and part of the Jesus Movement, adding names like Chuck Smith, Duane Pederson, Bill Bright, and others to the list of spiritual fathers to a generation.

Friends, we are in a latter rain period now.

kid-in-the-rain

So what does this mean to us? How should we respond to the positive (and negative) aspects of these Latter Rain times and Latter Days in which we live?

I invite you to join me this Sunday as I speak on The Promise of Change at Abba’s House in Chattanooga, TN. We are in ever changing times. With new leadership comes new direction, new policies and practices, and new hope. As our world changes, I will tell you what you need to be taking notice of with regard to Israel, the economy, and society as a whole. I hope you will join me Sunday at 10:30a.m. (EST)

If you aren’t in the Chattanooga area, please take advantage of our LIVE streaming at www.abbashouse.com/live

Merry Christmas!

Christmas_Tree_FarmsChristmas is upon us.

In just a few more days, we will wake to a day of family, friends. food, and gifts as we celebrate the Greatest Gift of all… Jesus.

 

 

 
KS12480As we bask in the warmth of the love of family and friends, let us take inventory of the goodness of God in our lives, starting with the Child in the manger, over 2000 years ago… the Hope of the world. Let us put aside the things that divide us, and draw near to the simplicity of that night, that angels heralded His birth, and Hope was given to a people lost in darkness. As the prophet Isaiah proclaimed centuries before that blessed night…

 

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ~ Isaiah 9:6

Thank you for making us a part of your season and year, whether by television, radio, visiting our church in Hixson, TN, or reading my blog. My prayer is that you and yours have a very Merry Christmas, a Happy and Peaceful New Year, and that your life will be filled with the abundance and blessings of a child of the King.

If you are in the Hixson area, please come join us for our Traditions Christmas Eve Communion at 5:00pm on Saturday, then our Christmas Service at 10:30am on Sunday, Christmas Day.

From our family to yours… Merry Christmas!

Pastor Ron

rp-paulette-christmas

Election 2016: Where Do We Go From Here?

FlagAmerica has spoken. We have elected our next President and Vice-President. While some across our nation are rejoicing, others of our neighbors mourn. In a political campaign that was as vicious and divisive as any in my lifetime, I think it is important for all of us to remember that the Republic will endure. We have weathered far worse than this — wars, the Great Depression, more wars, scandal, etc. — and we still remain.

I think this is a time for soul searching; a time to re-evaluate our priorities, our passions, and (yes) our politics. America has chosen a businessman/outsider to be our next Commander-In-Chief, rejecting someone who has a long and storied career in the political arena and the public eye. I think that, just as important as the voice of the people being heard, it is equally important that those in leadership understand exactly WHAT they heard. What were these voices saying? Why did the “silent majority” show up in force on November 8, 2016?

There is an old adage (often ascribed to the writings of Tocqueville) that goes like this…

KS77849I sought for the greatness and genius of America in her commodious harbors and her ample rivers—and it was not there. . . . in her fertile fields and boundless forests—and it was not there. . . . in her rich mines and her vast world commerce—and it was not there. . . . in her democratic Congress and her matchless Constitution—and it was not there. Not until I went into the churches of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power. America is great because she is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, she will cease to be great.

Could it be that the citizens of our great nation are tired of the unrighteousness and corruption at the highest levels of government?

RushmoreCould it be that we have finally become weary of being a nation with a broken moral compass, evidenced by rampant police assaults, out-of-control violence in our streets, rabid support for the abomination of abortion-on-demand, acceptance of deviant sexual behavior, and open hostility to the things of God?

Could it be that we have come to the determination that the government is not the answer to what ails us, and that all of the laws and regulations in the world may change the actions of a man, but cannot change his heart?

Could it be that we have realized that, for all of our good intentions, we cannot help the rest of the world until we have, ourselves, been healed of what ails us?

Could it be that we are returning to the understanding of what it means to be “one nation under God”?

The answers to these questions will not come overnight. Even after President-Elect Trump is sworn into office in January, all that has divided our nation will not mysteriously disappear.

It will take prayer. Prayer for President Trump, Vice President Pence, our Congress and Senate, governors, local leaders, and our nation. I believe what we are now seeing is the result of a LOT of people on their knees before God. THAT should not have stopped with the sunrise of November 9th. Psalm 107:28-29 says…

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
    and He brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
    the waves of the sea were hushed.

When we pray with thankfulness, Paul gives us this promise for peace and protection…

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. ~ Philippians 4:6-7

CoffeeIt will take understanding. As believers who trust in the inerrancy of the Bible, sometimes we are less than patient with those who are not believers. It is up to us lead in love, and show the love of Christ by example. Charles H. Spurgeon once said…

If sinners be damned, at least let them leap to Hell over our bodies. If they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees. Let no one go there unwarned and unprayed for.

It will take consistency. During the election cycle of 2016, Christians let their voices be heard. It is up to us to continue to speak out, let our voices continue to rise over the din of a culture that enjoys the sound of its own noise, and hold our leaders accountable for the pledges and promises they made to get elected.

It is an oft-used Scripture in times such as these, but nonetheless true or relevant. It is one we should all cling to and model in the days, months, and years ahead…

 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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ II Chronicles 7:14

May God bless our nation as we move forward in hope, grace, and unity.

God bless you.

Pastor Ron

Lady Liberty

Showdown: A Gamble of Long Odds

He came out of nowhere to confront the political establishment of his day. He was an outsider in the truest sense of the word.

JezebelSpiritThe nation’s leader was married to an un-elected, unselected ambitious woman who was the enemy of people of faith. This man of mystery spoke words that threatened the establishment, so they attacked this interloper, and put him on the run, for trying to overturn the corrupt and ungodly orders of an equally corrupt leader… corruption that, among other things, unjustly sent many to their deaths, seized the property and wealth of a law-abiding family by executive order, and after first framing the owner by accusations brought forward by false witnesses, had him murdered by an angry mob.

This woman unleashed her entire corrupt establishment on the “mystery man” in an effort to destroy him as she had every enemy before him. She sent her minions and surrogates after him to strike him down.

No… this is not Donald Trump and the Clintons. The woman in this story is Jezebel and the man she attacked was Elijah. Jezebel was eventually overthrown and fed to the dogs, and the nation was spared her continued and pervasive ungodliness. It was the spirit of Elijah that fell upon the nation.

The showdown on the mountain between Elijah and the 450 heathen prophets seemed like a gamble of long odds. However, the showdown ended when Jehovah God answered by fire from Heaven. It was the prayer of one righteous man that prompted God Almighty to show His power to His people who had strayed from Him. At 450 to 1, it WAS a gamble of long odds…

… And the 450 prophets of Baal never stood a chance.

KS77759Today we need some folks with the anointing of Elijah to bring down the corruption in America. We need people of faith to stand on their God-given rights and boldly speak the Word of truth to a people that have lost their way. We need leaders who will rise up, and declare the words of Proverbs 14:34 from the rooftops…

Righteousness exalts a nation,
But sin is a reproach to any people.

We need people of God who will stand up in the face of overwhelming odds, look the enemy squarely in the face, and laughingly say, “Is that all you brought?”

Washington MonumentIt is time for the petty bickering to end.

It is time for sin to be called out, and for the righteous to stand firmly in the face of evil.

It is time for our leaders to rise up, stop mincing words and playing along with politics as usual, thinking they are somehow not complicit in the downfall of our nation and society.

It is time for those in authority to start defending the laws they swore before God to uphold.

It is time for the Church to find its voice, lead the way, and declare our dependence on God as “one nation under God.”

Yes, it is a gamble of long odds. And when the people of God stand in unity, the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.

Pray.

Seek God.

Vote.

May God bless America once again.

When The Evidence is Overwhelming…

st-peter-and-st-john-at-beautiful-gate.jpg!LargeA man was healed… A testimony was given… God was glorified…

And for their effort, Peter and John were sent to jail.

After healing a lame beggar in Acts 3, Peter and John have the opportunity to share the message of Jesus with the astonished crowd that gathered. Peter reminds the crowd of their deplorable treatment of Jesus, but then declares in verse 16…

 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.

Because of their declarations of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the religious leadership opted to lock Peter and John up for the night. But not before, as chapter 4, verse 4 goes on to state, many more believed, and the numbers of believers increased.

To make a long story short, the next day, Peter and John were taken before the Sanhedrin, where they proceeded to continue to proclaim the name of Jesus, going as far as to declare that Jesus is…

“‘… The ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”   ~ Acts 4:11-12 (NKJV)

Upon their release, Peter and John reported to their people (believers) about what had transpired. What happened next was an impromptu prayer meeting, in which the people prayed…

“… And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto Thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak Thy word, by stretching forth Thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus.”

 ~ Acts 4:29-30 (KJV)

 These verses are an oft overlooked, yet very good lesson for all of us. In the contentious social climate in which we live, this is a model prayer of boldness in the face of threats and terror, a boldness that refuses to be bullied by the arrogance of men, popular opinion, and political correctness. The Greek word for boldness that we see here is parresia, which means “freedom to speak”. Just as Peter and John testified in the face of ugly threats by religious leaders, we are to stand up in the face of a godless and deceptive culture and respond to their accusations and threats with signs and wonders (v.30).

Another interesting point is the word behold (v.29). This word does not mean to simply “look at”, but “God, You look at them and fix YOUR gaze upon them.” How many times have you seen a child back down from some form of folly simply because of the disapproving gaze of a parent? This is basically saying, “God… stare ’em down!”

ExecutionLook folks… the message of the Gospel is a tough message. While yes, it is a message of love and hope in Christ, it is also a message of self-sacrifice, self-denial, and isolation (though none go with me, still I will follow). These days, there is no shortage of those who would try to intimidate us into silence and isolation. For Christians to speak the truth, we face the backlash of public scorn and ridicule, threats from governmental entities (such as the IRS), or threats of physical violence from groups, organizations, and religions who would terrorize us. Yet, we are not to cower in the face of opposition. We are not to remain silent during such threatenings. Recently, I wrote a book called The Unraveling of America. I didn’t write it because I was trying to make friends… I wrote it because the truth had to be told, regardless of how hard a truth that was.

So why should any of us take such risks? Why should we declare the truth? Because we are called to be salt and light. We are called to a life of faith, for it is only by faith that we can please God (Heb. 11:6). But we can also rest assured that, when we speak the truth, and live according to God’s direction, He shows up. Look at verse 31 of Acts 4…

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

God is not going to leave you hanging.

In Him is truth.

In Him is power.

In Him there is no lack.

That is Good News for me and you!

Pastor Ron

The Unraveling of America

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As we celebrate Independence Day today, I find myself reminiscing about the qualities and people who have made our nation great. Character, integrity, patriotism, freedom, excellence, Godliness, exceptionalism are all words that come to mind when I think of the writings of our founding fathers. Names like Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and Adams are synonymous with these aspirations. Others who followed in their wake — men like Lincoln, Roosevelt, Kennedy, Reagan — encouraged America’s citizenry to overcome adversity, stand for freedom and against tyranny, and shoot for the moon. One has but to visit our nation’s capital — places like the Smithsonian Institution, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery — to have a sense of where we came from, how hard we have worked, where our faith was founded, how much we have sacrificed, and what we have accomplished…

And we have but to watch the evening news to realize how far we have fallen.

Unraveling Flag - horiz

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil…” ~ Isaiah 5:20

We’re there.

Today, we are seeing America unraveling at the seams. We are seeing unprecedented evil – as the Bible defines it – being accepted and even welcomed in our culture. We are witnessing events and attitudes that I would never have imagined would be “acceptable” in my lifetime.

So who is pulling the strings?

The history we are seeing unfold before our eyes is startling, shocking, and disturbing. But current events beg the questions…

  • Do you know that two men changed all of culture as we see it right now?

  • Is the homosexual revolution all the result of a brilliantly devised marketing plan?

  • Did you know that Dearborn, Michigan is already “Islamicized”?

  • Is political correctness destroying America?

  • Why is there respect for Shari’a law in our government, but no respect for the Bible?

  • Did our forefathers really set up boundaries between the church and the state?

Yesterday (July 3), I released a word to our nation. My new book, The Unraveling of America, answers these questions and more. It is time to stand for righteousness. It is time to stand for truth. It is time to get honest about the individuals, entities, and attitudes that are tearing our great nation apart, and return our nation to the path of righteousness, justice, truth, and integrity that is our true destiny.

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 will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~ II Chronicles 7:14

It is time to expose the unraveling of America, and begin the healing of our Land.

Pastor Ron