Sept. 29–Oct. 7, I participated in the American Revival Heritage Tour led by the Sentinel Group, a ministry focused on equipping believers to pray for transforming revival in our communities.
This experience–a prayer journey immersed in church history–was life changing.
Among many takeaways, I was impressed with a sense of responsibility to steward what’s been entrusted to us by those who’ve gone on before. With the Spirit’s help, I committed to obey Jesus by applying what He taught me. Over the next weeks, I’d also like to share with you some of what we discovered. I’d be honored if you would take this journey with me…
The morning I left for the Milwaukee airport (9/29), I woke up with a phrase in my mind and a song in my heart.
The prophetic song was the classic by Don Moen, “Thank You, Lord.”
I come before You today
And there’s just one thing that I want to say
Thank You, Lord, thank You, Lord
For all You’ve given to me
For all the blessings that I cannot see
Thank You, Lord, thank You, Lord…
The phrase was “As I Go…”
Although I’ve already returned, that phrase birthed this post, compiled from audio recordings as I drove (I’ll omit the Google Maps directions).
As I go… I go as a student of church history, asking questions to learn from heroes of the faith.
I take a problem-centered approach to historical theology, which acknowledges we each come to the table with specific questions and issues we’re looking to answer. In this case, our communities are desperate for revival and God’s transforming nearness.
I seek to respect characters from history as “voices with whom we enter into theological conversation,” Colin Gunton’s phrase. This space at the table allows us to chat on common ground and dialogue about differences.
As I go… I go as a systematician. Say what?
I employ the systematic sense of a scientist, asking questions and hearing whatever answers may come. I seek to do this removed from bias, to learn with a humble and open heart from the data that stories of the past offer us. We all get off the plane with biases from our upbringing, our spiritual experiences, and what we’ve heard in the past.
My goal is to be aware of my own history but not allow it to discolor the new stories I’ll hear. Behind our tour guides, we’ll hear voices, who like Abel, through their faith still speak (Heb. 11:4). This is the great cloud of witnesses, gone on ahead, and I couldn’t be more excited to learn from their perspectives (Heb. 12:1).
As I go… I go as a person of prayer.
I so love being in relationship with Jesus! Since prayer is the primary avenue He has graced us with for connecting with Him, I love prayer too! Prayer is also the most powerful way His people change the world.
A friend prayed with me over the phone the day before my trip: “LORD, give him eyes to see the things that only You can help him see!” What expectancy a faith-filled prayer like that stirs in my heart! It sets my spirit ready to be watchful (1 Cor. 16:13; 1 Pet. 5:8). I’m on the edge of my seat excited for all He will reveal.
As I go… I go as a friend of Jesus.
This means I’m a disciple who obeys my Master and shares what He teaches me with others. Jesus said we show our love for Him by obeying Him (Jn. 14:15). In His final commission, Jesus calls us to teach others “to obey” all the commands He’s given us (Mt. 28:17-20). We pass on what He shares with us, inflow-outflow personal conversations.
This means… I go as a disciple-making disciple, seeking to equip, encourage, and impart to others even as I receive life myself. It’s never a stagnant swamp that ends with me but always a living channel, an ever-flowing river.
As I go… He’s with me (Mt. 28:20).
And we go with others. I’m not alone. Though I haven’t yet met them, I go with brothers and sisters from various streams in the Body of Christ with similar hearts for revival and prayer, for learning from our Lord Jesus and the voices of the past. I’m sure we’ll become fast friends.
May “all the streams flow as one river…”
~to wash away our brokenness
~to heal our land (2 Chr. 7:14)
Revive us again, LORD, for the glory of Your Name! We ask for awakening, transforming revival, and reformation in the wonderful Name of Jesus.
I’d love to hear from you!
What have you been praying for your community lately?