Is Revival Near?

three-crosses-kathryn-pranschke

Is Revival Near?

“The Gospel is not an old, old story, freshly told. It is a fire in the Spirit, fed by the flame of Immortal Love; and woe unto us, if, through our negligence to stir up the Gift of God which is within us, that fire burns low.” ~ Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries

What do you think of when you hear the word ‘revival’? When I think of this term I think of renewed passion, energy for God’s Kingdom, setting down of ways that do not honor God, repentance, and restoration of a spirit of outreach. The Enemy never stops working to demolish our faith, and we must never stop striving to grow and feed our faith. This Fall Revival Series is an effort to draw our attention to the glory of God.

The Prophets spoke out against religious service that had no heart. This Revival Series is not about boosting Wednesday Night attendance. Having breathing bodies in the pew is not God’s idea of success or vibrant faith! This revival series is about placing ourselves under the hearing of God’s Word and opening ourselves up to His leading.

Think about it this way. Which action pleases the Enemy more: the hearing of messages meant to stir our hearts or the dusty reality of your empty pew?

We so often have let our everyday lives become overloaded and crowd out every opportunity to study, pray & fellowship. So I encourage you to engage this formula for revival:

Arrive Five Minutes Early. Our chronic late arrival leaves us no opportunity to greet both family and guests and discourages our speakers. Worship is not like a light switch … you don’t just sit down and turn it on. Arrive early enough to get your heart warmed up to receive and give a blessing. You can do this! What’s more motivating than an appointment with the King of Kings?

Pray Every Day. Pray not only for the sick but for the saved. Pray for our church, elders, ministers, and teachers. Pray for the lost. Pray for God to stir us up and open our eyes to opportunities He gives us to share the gospel with the lost world around us.

Bring a Friend. A guest speaker for a special series gives you an opportunity to ask a friend to join you. Introduce them to others. Pray for them during the service that they will have open hearts.

Attend Every Service. Each of our ten speakers will bring their own experience and viewpoint to our revival. Who knows but that one of them will really connect and reveal something you have needed to hear?

Pray More!  As we do everything we can do, plead with the Power that can do more than we can imagine! 

I believe this could be a turning point for our church. Every one of you is an important part of the history of this congregation.

What if this season of revival is a historic game-changer for Forsythe Church of Christ?

My friends, we are not waiting on God to do something, He’s waiting on us. Pray … Commit to be present … Bring a friend … Pray some more. Revival is near.

God be near, we depend on You.                        

John Dobbs

Fall Revival At Forsythe

Fall Revival at ForsytheWednesday @ 6FACOC.org

On Wednesday Nights this Fall join us for some nights of great singing, prayer, and Bible preaching from some great men of God. The first one is THIS WEDNESDAY!

Alan Robertson is the ‘beardless brother’ of Duck Dynasty fame. Before he was a television personality, though, he was a minister and elder at Whites Ferry Road Church of Christ in West Monroe, LA for many years. One of his big partners in ministry was and is fellow elder and minister Mike Kellett. This duo will get our Fall Revival series off to an awesome beginning. 

Hope you’ll come and join us at 6:00 Wednesday night and open up your heart to your own personal revival!

 

Overwhelmed: Where Can I Find Help?

8.29.15

OVERWHELMED: Where Can I Find Help? 

Psalm 121

Audio:

Overwhelmed – life is about to overtake you … out of control … unable to find a way out. Many people feel this way about their lives. What kinds of things cause us to be overwhelmed?

*Finances – 1.5 million file for bankruptcy yearly

*Marriage – 33 Million on Ashley Madison site

*Job related stress – leads to “ hypertension, cardio-vascular disease, and decreased mental health, can lead to fatal conditions that wind up killing about 120,000 people each year…”

*Emotional struggles and physical illness

*The Condition of the world around us

Where Can I find Help When I’m Overwhelmed? Feeling overwhelmed is not something new. The ancient Hebrew songbook offers valuable perspective.

Psalm 121 (NRSV)

I lift up my eyes to the hills—from where will my help come?
My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.
He who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord is your keeper; the Lord is your shade at your right hand.
The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life.
The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

1. We Find Help When We Look Up (1)

Hills may represent troubles and dangers of life. From what hills do you need to lift your eyes? What opposition keeps you from great faith? What scary situations or heartbreaking events have captured your attention? Overwhelmed, we look at our troubles, hardships, struggles. Looking up we are turning to someone who is more powerful than we! We look up when we turn our thoughts to God and consider Him. The prodigal fell into the traps of the Enemy and wasted his inheritance. Luke 15:17 When he came to his senses … How many of us have had those moments of  clarity? Look up -find help there. 

What is it about God that can lift us above the waves and give us relief?

2. God Helps Overwhelmed Become Overcomers!

*He is Powerful and Creative! (2)

Genesis 1:1 [AMP] In the beginning God (prepared, formed, fashioned, and)created the heavens and the earth.

Isaiah 40:6 Lift up your eyes on high and see: Who created these? He who brings out their host and numbers them, calling them all by name; because he is great in strength, mighty in power, not one is missing.

Jeremiah 32:27 “I am the Lord, the God of all man- kind. Is anything too hard for me?

*He Desires that You Stand Firm (3).  Moved – slip, shaken, be toppled … fail.  

He limits temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13 No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it.). 

He empowers us to Stand! (Eph 6:13-15 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. 14 Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. 15 As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.).

He restores us (1 Peter 5:10 The God of all grace … will himself restore, support, strengthen, and establish you.)

*He is Alert to our Troubles (3b-4). Six times – ‘he who Keeps you’ – Guardian. God is the nighttime guard never dozes off. You have never faced a struggle in your life that God was not on full alert – aware of the actions of the enemy, your own failings, and His own actions. 1 Peter 2:25  – the guardian of your souls. God is totally unlike the pagan gods / dead idols who cannot be awakened. (1 Kings 18:27)

*He offers rest / shade (5-6) In the Middle East, shade from the heat can be the difference between life and death.

Isaiah 32:2 … like the shade of a great rock in a weary land….

*He Overcomes Evil (7).  God is the ultimate victor over the evil ways of the Enemy. Unknown: how often God has kept evil from us. Known: he has paid a great price to give us victory over every evil way.

“When Jesus takes your hand, He keeps you tight. When Jesus keeps you tight, He leads you through your whole life. When Jesus leads you through your  life, He brings you safely home.” Corrie ten Boom

2 Timothy 1:12 “and for this reason I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know the one in whom I have put my trust, and I am sure that he is  able to guard until that day what I have entrusted to him.”

3. We Find Help in God’s Forever Strength (8)

God is not just a hideout, but a bodyguard! God has an eternal solution for our earthly troubles.

We lift up our eyes from our troubles and see where our help comes from

When We Feel Powerless, God is Powerful.

When We Feel Alone, God is Alert.

When We Feel At Risk, God is our Guardian.

When We Feel Hopeless, God is Forever.

George Matheson was only fifteen when he was told he was losing what little poor eyesight he had. Not to be denied, Matheson continued straightaway with his plans to enroll in the University of Glasgow, and his determination led to his graduating at age nineteen. But as he pursued graduate studies in theology for Christian ministry he did become blind. His sisters joined ranks beside him, learning Greek and Hebrew to assist him in his studies. He pressed faithfully on.

But his spirit collapsed when his fiancée, unwilling to be married to a blind man, broke their engagement and returned his ring. He never married, and the pain of that rejection never totally left him. Years later, as a well-loved pastor in Scotland, his sister came to him, announcing her engagement. He rejoiced with her, but his mind went back to his own heartache. He consoled himself in thinking of God’s love which is never limited, never conditional, never withdrawn, and never uncertain. Out of this experience he wrote the hymn, O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go.

O love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

That in thine ocean depths it flow

May richer, fuller be.

Jude 24-25 Now to him who is able to keep you from falling, and to make you stand without blemish in the presence of his glory with rejoicing, 25 to the only God our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, power, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen

 

LifeGroup Questions  August 30, 2016

OVERWHELMED: Where Can I Find Help?   Psalm 121

1. Here at the end of Summer many of us have taken vacation trips. What are some things that can overwhelm us about vacation trips if we’re not careful? If you have a picture on your phone of your trip, share it with the group!

2. This Psalm begins with looking up from the hills for help. This morning John said, “What scary situations or difficult events have captured your attention? By ‘looking up’ we are not ignoring them – we are turning to someone who is more powerful than we are!”

*What are some practical ways we can ‘look up to God’ in our time of distress?

*Why do you think we often turn to God only after we have exhausted our own possibilities to address our problems?

3. Martyn Lloyd-Jones once wrote, “Have you realized that most of your unhappiness in life is due to the fact that you are listening to yourself instead of talking to yourself?” What do you think he may have meant by this? In what ways do you see the psalmist preaching to himself in this psalm?

4. Where do people look for help apart from God? When are you tempted to forget that he is watching over you?

5. Thinking about David’s life … he had some moments when he slipped. What are some moments when he did not slip because he trusted in God?

6. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Explain why:

The Christian life makes more sense when we’re reflecting on where we’ve been, than when we’re focused on what we’re experiencing.

7. Read  2 Corinthians 4:8-10, 16-18. What are some ways the Apostle Paul teaches us to think about our struggles?

8. Relate Jude 24-25 to our Psalm. What encouragement do you gain from Jude 24-25?

9. Which verse in this psalm is your favorite? Which one speaks most clearly to you? Why?

10. Spiritual Practice Suggestion: Memorize this Psalm, use it to remind yourself when your vision strays, when trouble or uncertainty rises up, when life says, “What makes you think you are going to amount to anything?” Let this Psalm encourage your soul and bring you to praise God who made you and Jesus who died for you and lives again.

A Few Resources Referred to in the Lesson:

Consequences of Work Related Stress

What the Ashley Madison Hack Says About How Many Women Cheat

Top Ten Reasons People Go Bankrupt

GriefShare Begins Tuesday Night

griefshare

STARTS TUESDAY, August 25th at 6:00 at Forsythe Church of Christ.

The basic fact of life is that every life must come to an end. No matter what efforts we make to extend our days, we have to admit that our lives are temporary. Remember the familiar verse in James?

What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.  ~James 4:14

That’s why we have GriefShare. People we love and that mean so much to us are now gone. Left behind in their place are empty chairs at the table. We’d like to tell them about our day, but they are no longer able to sit down with us and listen. The experience of grief can settle in and we can find it difficult to take steps forward.

GriefShare is a 13 week support group that is led by people who know what the pain of grief is like. We watch a DVD presentation that helps us identify the characteristics of grief, how our faith interacts with grief, and how God can help us move forward.

GriefShare doesn’t solve the problem of grief. If we truly loved someone, we will always miss their presence in our lives. But the days do not have to be as painful as they are now. Here’s a segment from GriefShare. More information below.

Christina’s Story from Church Initiative on Vimeo.

If you or someone you know is suffering from grief, please share with them this information today. Encourage them to participate in this free course that offers so much consolation and information. There is a workbook that costs $15.00, and it will assist you in walking through the daily exercises of grief recovery.

Gary and Chryste Whisenhunt and Carol Ogle are my partners in leading this class. Each has helped grieving people through support groups for many years. You’ll be blessed by their presence and sweet spirit.

GriefShare begins Tuesday, August 25th at 6:00 pm. We meet at Forsythe Church of Christ for 13 weeks. You can register at our church website HERE or just show up. We look forward to this season of GriefShare because in our experience this program helps move people ahead in beautiful ways.

For more information and resources, visit GRIEFSHARE.ORG.

JD