2014 BISHOP’S DISTRICT CONFERENCE MESSAGE

REVIVAL – THE BRIDGE TO THE FUTURE

2014 DISTRICT CONFERENCE MESSAGE

2 Chronicles 7:14

If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land

Habakkuk 3:1-2

1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet upon Shigionoth.

O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord, revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known; in wrath remember mercy.

Two thousand years have elapsed since the Birth of Christ in Bethlehem, the event that engendered Western civilization. But for Christianity, the sun has begun to set in the West.

Born in Judea, Christianity spread swiftly across Asia Minor, North Africa and on to Rome, where it was persecuted for 300 years. Then, for the three centuries after Constantine, though driven by heresies, Christianity was the faith of the Roman Empire.

With the death of Muhammad in 632, however, a fighting new faith arose. In a century, just 100 years Islam had seized Arabia, captured the Holy Land, swept over Africa and conquered Spain.

The armies of Islam were only stopped at Tours in France in 732 by Charles Martel, the Hammer of the Franks, in one of the decisive battles of history. Europe was saved for Christianity. Islam retreated back over the mountains into Spain, where it retained a foothold until Isabella drove the Moors out in the year she sent an Italian navigator named Columbus to find the western sea route to the Indies.

In 1492, all Western Europe was Christian and responsive to Rome. But with the 1500s came Luther, Calvin, Henry VIII and the Reformation, the sundering of Christendom into a Protestant north and a Catholic south. The same division prevailed in the New World. Protestant England colonized the east coast of North America, as Catholic Spain colonized most of South America. Yet, Christians all professed the same God and believed in the same Savior.

With the Enlightenment in the 18th century, however, came a revolution to overthrow Christianity as well as the Church. French priests were among the first butchered in the September Massacres, even before Louis XVI and his queen ascended the scaffold.

In the 19th century, a greater challenge to Christianity arose in the intellectual realm: Darwinism. Among the elites, the belief took hold that not only was Christianity a fraud, God did not exist. God is dead, said Nietzsche. And if He is dead, and there is no life after death, one must build the best of all possible worlds here on earth. And if we must sacrifice a few million of the species to build that world, so be it. For the masses have no more worth than the animals we kill for food. Survival of the fittest was a new mantra.

But in winning World War II and, later, the Cold War, it was the economic, technological and military power of the United States and the ideas associated with America that men said were decisive. The Americans had delivered on the promise of Marx – without paying the price Marx prescribed--wholesale and bloody revolution.

God said to Moses: "I am the Lord thy God, thou shalt not have strange gods before me,"

But since the Reformation in the West, that God has given way to one strange new god after another: The king, the state, the nation, the race and, finally, S-E-L-F.

Architecture is a mirror of what men worship. The first great buildings in Christendom were cathedrals: St. Peter's in Rome, Notre Dame in Paris, St. Paul's in London. After the Reformation came the palaces, with Versailles the greatest of all, as befit the Sun King.

In the 19th century came the monuments and museums exalting the achievements of nation and race. In the 20th, the American century, the United States built cathedrals to commerce, skyscrapers like the Chrysler and Empire State buildings. An envious Hitler enlisted Albert Speer to erect monuments and public buildings to his 1,000-Year Reich to dwarf anything the West had ever seen.

In the late 20th century, the tallest buildings in the world, the twin towers of the World Trade Center, arose. They were brought crashing down by the Muslims who hated America.

In the West, the God of Christianity has been superseded by the gods of modernity: money, sex, fame, power. These gods give a good life, but they cannot sustain life. As Christianity is a dying faith in every Western nation, every Western nation is dying.

Not one has a native-born population that is reproducing itself. At present birth rates, all will be changed utterly or pass away in a short time.

It is in the Third World, where populations are still growing, that Christianity still challenges Islam. Indeed, as the battle for the future is decided in this century, a once-Christian Europe will view the struggle from the windows of its nursing home.

It’s not a pretty picture is it? We don’t really care to admit the dismal view of the obvious landscape. If that was all there was to the picture I would not have much hope there would be a future……………

“Revival is not when the top blows off but rather when the bottom falls out.” -Leonard Ravenhill

Our meetings are set up by organizers and not agonizers.

John Knox, the founder of the Presbyterian Church prayed continually, “God, give me Scotland or I die!” He prayed this while he was chained deep inside the hull of a French ship off the coast of Scotland. He prayed not one, not two, and not three years but for seven years that God would send revival to Scotland. Mary, Queen of Scots said I fear nothing but the prayers of John Knox.

“How long have you earnestly prayed for God to send revival to WV”

 We have large church buildings and many programs but no move of God. We have more trained ministers and more Bible colleges than any other nation but no revival. We have seminars on revivals and campaigns to promote our meetings but where is the revival?

Noted Journalist Cal Thomas speaking in Morgantown in March said, “what this nation needs is a genuine revival”. He said, “the last great revival was the revival that came to Scotland at the turn of the century.”

A survey was conducted by The Barna Group (Ventura, California) regarding the ministry priorities of Protestant churches. When a nationally representative sample of 614 Senior Pastors was asked to identify the top three ministry priorities for their church in the coming year, not a single ministries emphasis was listed by even half of the church leaders.The lowest priorities among the dozen ministries described by pastors were ministry to families (4%) and in last place was prayer (3%).

Prayer was listed in only 3% of the senior pastors list of priorities! Is it any wonder that we lack in a heart-felt, heaven-sent move of the divine Spirit of God????

Does the name Buckmiller ring a bell? In May 1947 Elmer and Hettie Buckmiller were appointed missionaries to Indonesia to assist Missionary George White. In 1958 they transferred to the Philippines where they continued working. In October 1968 Hettie critically ill with cancer was evacuated on a USAF plane loaded with battle casualties from Vietnam. Elmer followed her to the United States in November. On December 24, 1968 Hettie died having fought a good fight laboring faithfully for 28 years by her husband’s side in Indonesia and the Philippine Islands. Brother Buckmiller was so weak in his body he had to be put in a care home and later passed away. So what happened to their labor?

Report from the Philippines April 1971: ‘It has been a year of revival with 1,488 Baptized in the Philippine Islands, 855 have received the Holy Ghost and 100 new Filipino ministers added to the UPC.’

The story is told of Missionaries Paton and Judson who served the Lord in hostile areas, who both buried their wives and children on the mission field. Through brokenness and humility they saw the Lord touch those who had never heard the message of redemption. When Missionary Paton first entered the field of work the locals were filled with demons. When he left, all on the island had become Christians and renounced headhunting. 

“The Blood of the Martyrs of La Morena had lubricated the wheels of revival until it seemed that every pulpit became a powerful apostolic vehicle.” Do you remember writing that Brother Scott? Page 105 in your book, ‘The Evolving World of Foreign Missions’.

Arriving in Cairo April 1960 with Brother A.T. Morgan Wynn Stairs writes of their meeting with Missionary Robert McFarland, Sr: “Never in my 40 years experience have I been more conscious of the ……serious condition in the world…..Are we Awake? Are we doing our best? Or are we sleeping on the job? Time is precious—the most precious possession we have, and cannot be bought back when once passed. Souls are more valuable than the entire world put together. And the will of the Lord must be done.”

Where is the God of Elijah today? 

Where is this missionary passion and sacrifice?

Are we better than John the Baptist and Jesus?

Both John and Jesus gave their lives as martyrs. Yet martyrdom has been removed from our vocabulary. Pastors have become celebrities. Instead of beseeching God for a move of His Spirit countless hours are wasted begging people to send money so that the work of God can continue. What we need to do is to prostrate ourselves and plead with God to strip us of the power-hungry spiritual veneer that has encrusted our souls.

How is it that God can visit a mud hut in Africa or a shanty village in India and yet bypass the comfortable sanctuaries we have created for Him in our country?

Why are other nations experiencing revival and we in America aren’t? 

Could it be that calamity clarifies while comfort confuses? When we become desperate that the mortgage is no longer important, nor is the lawn care.

When calamity strikes, it is people that are important to us, not things. While persecution purifies, prosperity often pollutes. The end result is that our materialism leaves us content without God.

I have some questions I want to ask us tonight that demand an answer: 

  1. Who changed things from the vibrant, Holy Ghost-empowered “by life or by death” faith of the New Testament to today’s spineless home-and-garden Sunday-morning religion?
  2. Who changed things from “Leave everything and follow Me” to “Pray this little prayer and you’re set for eternity”?
  3. Who changed things from “All who live godly lives in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution” to “Ask Jesus into your heart and enjoy a comfortable life”?
  4. Who changed things from a fearless proclamation of the truth, whatever the cost or consequences, to a watered down, compromised message that is afraid to offend anyone?
  5. By what authority, by whose decree, based on what new revelation have we so blatantly departed from the faith of the apostles? Who changed things?
  6. Who changed things from the New Testament faith, where even the disciples couldn’t minister without the Spirit’s enduement, to today’s version, where whole ministries are run with hardly any evidence of the Spirit’s work?
  7. Who changed things from a God-centered faith to a man-centered faith, from "Take up your cross and deny yourself" to "Bypass the cross and empower yourself"?
  8. Who changed things from holiness being beautiful to holiness being bondage, from the early church being known for its high standards to the contemporary church being known for its scandals?
  9. Who changed things from the people of God being a threat to the powers of darkness to the people of God being active participants in darkness?
  10. Who changed things from a faith that was so focused on the life of Jesus and so infused with the reality of His death and resurrection that no sacrifice was considered too great to today’s convenience-store Christianity, where we have to “sell” salvation to the sinner by spicing up the deal with perks and benefits?
  11. When did Jesus stop being enough?
  12. When did obedience become an option?
  13. When did keeping God’s commandments out of love for Him become “religious”? Didn’t Jesus say that if we loved Him, we would keep His commandments?
  14. Who changed things?

I am here tonight to serve notice it’s time to put some things back into perspective and let R-E-V-I-V-A-L in West Virginia be the bridge to the future. I would further declare that REVIVAL has already been here and in presently engaged in moving throughout the Mountain State.

TESTIMONIALS:

  • Eugene Whetsel from Moorefield
  • First Spanish Licensed Minister in WV

TO 10 CITIES IN WV WITH SPANISH POPULATION

  1. Martinsburg's 1,069 Hispanics is a 145 percent increase in the number of Hispanics and by far the largest in the state, but not the only one among cities.
  2. Morgantown had the second-highest number of Hispanics at 765, up from 412. It was followed by
  3. Charleston at 694, up from 432; and
  4. Huntington at 685, up from 437. Other cities in the top 10 were
  5. Ranson (Berkley Co.) at 538
  6. Charlestown at 473
  7. Parkersburg (368),
  8. Moorefield (281),
  9. Clarksburg (269) and
  10. Beckley (265).
  • Oak Hill church consolidation creating a larger foundation for Apostolic Operation – Greg Hurley
  • Pascal Crites – Move of God in Western Maryland
  • Job, WV – Claude Chaney
  • New Martinsville – Joe Adkins

THE CHALLENGE: TAKE THIS CITY FOR JESUS CHRIST

TAKE THIS COUNTY FOR JESUS CHRIST: We have currently 11 of our 55 counties in WV that does not have a church. I am not wanting a lot of hype here but I am asking if there is any Pastor that feels like you want to accept taking the challenge of getting a church established in one of these counties would come and we are going to give you a facsimile of the county from our WV map.

I want to know if we have any young men and women under the age of 40 that is ready to take this state for Jesus would you stand up and step forward?