Revive Our Hearts Podcast

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A Heart that Welcomes Revival

Leslie Basham: When God spoke to Elijah, it was in a still, small voice. That meant the prophet had to be quiet and listen. Here’s Mary Peckham.

Mary Peckham: Maybe we’re making too much noise nowadays. We’re making a lot of noise in the churches—a lot of music and a lot of this and that and the other thing. And we can’t hear a still, small voice because we don’t expect God to speak in that way.

Leslie Basham: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, March 29th.

Over the last couple of days, we heard a message from Mary Peckham. As a teenager she experienced revival on the Island of Lewis off the coast of Scotland. Nancy had a chance to sit down with Mary and her husband to talk about revival. Learn to have the kind of heart that God visits in revival as we hear that conversation today.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: This week we’ve been hearing what I think is one of the most thrilling testimonies of revival: an eyewitness account of revival and one of the most moving ones that I have heard. I’ve listened to it many times over the years, and each time my heart has been freshly stirred as Mary Peckham has shared with us what she saw and experienced as the presence of God moved in the Island of Lewis, just off the coast of Scotland, in the 1950s.

I know your heart has been stirred as you’ve listened to that story. I had heard of Colin and Mary Peckham many times over the years. Now I’ve been visiting in Scotland on a revival heritage tour over these past few days and have just had a chance to meet Mary and her husband Colin, and what a privilege it has been.

Colin was for many years the president or the principal of a Bible college, first in South Africa and then here in Edinburgh, Scotland, and so has been training students in the Word of God, the ways of God, and in revival.

Now for the last five years, Colin and Mary have been together in itinerant ministry sharing the heart and the ways of God and calling God’s people to revival, proclaiming Christ in churches throughout the United Kingdom, the United States, and other places as well.

So Colin and Mary, thank you so much for joining us here on Revive Our Hearts.

Colin Peckham: Thank you so much. It’s wonderful to be speaking to the folks about this great subject. This really moves our hearts—the subject of revival. It must be protected on the one hand from indifference and simple illogical things. But on the other hand, it must be protected from the wild heresies and the wild practices of a number of people. So we’ve got to get the true presence of God in meetings again and again when God comes in reviving power.

Nancy: And that presence of God really was one of the distinguishing marks as I’ve heard you tell the story, Mary, of the Lewis Revival, now over 55 years ago. Even as we were at a meal just this week and were talking about your memories of that, and Colin as he had heard the stories, that awesome sense of the presence of God seemed to be so distinctive. Is that what sticks with you today as you think back to those days?

Mary Peckham: Yes. We had a tremendous privilege in the islands, and one can truly see that these islands are the land of revivals. From 1824 onwards there have been frequent outpourings of the Spirit of God. Revival has swept the Island, which resulted in family worship being conducted nearly in all the homes at one stage, whether the converted or the unconverted.

You see, they’re all Presbyterians, and they brought their children to church when they were small. They called it christening. But the parents are given the responsibility in front of the whole congregation, and they’re exhorted to bring up this child in the nurture and fear and admonition of the Lord.

The only way they know to do that is to read to them the Word of God. And in reading the Word of God to them, they are being taught in the Scriptures. Of course, that was also in the schools. We had to learn chapters of Scripture by heart in Gaelic and in English.

There was a result of that—a fear of God amongst the people and a respect for God so that you could meet a person on the street and talk to them about God. There were no strangers to that, and there would be no opposition to you sharing the gospel with them.

But as I grew up in my teenage years, I had no time for religion really, although I had a mind that was absolutely full of the memorized Scripture. But I didn’t call it to mind, and I didn’t pay much heed to it. All I wanted was just the round of pleasure that was typical of my generation at that time.

The pleasures that we enjoyed were totally Celtic, Highland, Scottish dance music and the dance and so on and so forth. But when it came to immorality, anyone engaged in immorality in the community was ostracized because after all we had learned early, “Thou shalt not.”

So like the psalmist said, “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105). So we had that lamp, as it were, in our hands, and we were restrained from what we might call more heinous sins. But nevertheless, when the presence of God was outpoured during that season of revival, we were sinners in the sight of a God who was infinitely holy.

It wasn’t a case of being convicted of this sin or that sin, but just the very fact that you are lost, that you are separated from God without God and without hope in the world. And wherever we went, we were aware of that presence of God, though at the time we would not have said it was the presence of God, but maybe a holy solemnity throughout the whole area.

There was a solemnity. Wherever you went, people were gripped with the thought of God and what God was saying in the meetings, the preaching, the preacher. That was the subject of conversation.

Nancy: And Colin, you were teaching us on a tour that I’ve been on this week. It was interesting to me that you mentioned that the Island of Lewis had a long history of revivals leading up to this revival in the 1950s. This was not something new to these people.

Colin: Yes. In the 1820s a man called Alexander McLeod went to a far outlying place, a very isolated spot called Urig on the west coast of the Island of Lewis, and he began to preach the gospel. Whereas the man before him it had been said of him that he knew very little of the doctrines of grace, and he had been there for 40 years. So there was very grave ignorance on the whole work of the gospel.

So he said that we would now have no more communions until the people were worthy of taking communion. Now the Communion season begins on Thursday and Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. So it’s a whole convention and a very solemn occasion.

Nancy: And how often would they have this Communion season?

Colin: They had it twice a year. But at that time I think they just had it once a year with Alexander McLeod. Anyway, he said, “We’ll have no more communions until people are worthy of taking communion.”

So he preached, and God was mightily with him, and great conviction settled on the Island. People heard of this, and they came from all over the Island to come and hear Alexander McLeod. Eventually he had his first communion.

There were 7,000 people that walked across the peat bogs. There were no roads. It was just a very primitive area at that time. They’d walk barefoot many of them across the peat bogs to Urig to attend. But only six from his congregation took communion while there were 7,000 people there.

The height of that movement was a little while later when they had another communion the next year, and there 9,000 people at that communion. Nine thousand! The whole Island at that time there were only 12,000 on the Island, so it was a huge move of the Spirit at that time.

Since that time, again and again, there have been outpourings of the Spirit—every five years or every ten years somebody would hear of a movement in one place and then in another place. All over the Island there would be sporadic ebbs and flows of the workings of the Spirit. The whole Island was nurtured in the culture of revival. They knew what it was, the movings of God and the Holy Ghost.

So there was one big one in 1939, which was widespread, which was not conducted by any ministerial brethren. The laymen, the elders themselves ran the prayer meetings. In those prayer meetings those people came to know the Lord.

Then came the war that separated the people. Many of those boys went out and didn’t come back again from the war. They continued to pray, but the revival had abated until Duncan Campbell came in 1949, and revival broke out. He went for a week, and he was there for three years when the revival moved on that occasion.

Nancy: Has Lewis experienced outpourings of God’s Spirit in a similar way since then?

Colin: No. There have not been widespread movements. There was one in 1957 in one part of the island and then in other occasions there were a few other sporadic outbreaks of the Spirit’s working. But only recently in various parts of the Island there have been encouraging signs of ten young people here, five young people, six young people there in towns and villages all over the Island.

Nancy: I know you’ve prayed for and believed God for revival for many years. Have you had any sense to what creates a climate that is conducive to revival, or what might hinder the outpouring of God’s Spirit? Obviously, God is sovereign. He moves when and how and He will. But this is a place you love. I’m thinking about not just Lewis, but Scotland has been the scene of many great movings of the Spirit of God, outpourings. Yet today we see very little of that. What thoughts do you have as to why?

Colin: "'I will yet for this be inquired of the house of Israel,’ says the Lord God” (Ezekiel 20:31). Now that is a huge statement. “I will yet for of this be inquired over.” God is waiting and stirring people to pray. And as a matter of fact, all over the world there are people who are praying.

It’s quite an amazing thing when people of God get praying. It was Matthew Henry who said, “When God intends great mercy for His people, He first sets them a praying.” And it was D.L. Moody who said, “Behind every move of the Spirit there is a bent figure.” And John Wesley said, “God will do nothing but by prayer and everything with it.”

So prayer is essential, and God prepares people and gives them a burden, preparing people for that moment when they are united and when they can give themselves to prayer and seek Him and believe Him. And He prepares a people to receive the Spirit.

Nancy: One of the places we’re visiting on this tour is Charlotte Chapel here in Edinburg. Can you give us a nutshell version of what it was God did in that revival at Charlotte Chapel? I know one of the names associated with that is Joseph Kemp. Just for our listeners who aren’t familiar with that, can you give us a little bit of that story?

Colin: Yes. There was a lady. Charlotte Chapel had gone down to the doldrums. There were only about 30 or 40 people coming to the chapel, which holds about 1,000.

Nancy: And give us a timeframe. When are we talking about?

Colin: This is 1890s, about there. So this lady had a daughter, and they were transferred here. Her husband was transferred from Charlotte Chapel. She wrote a poem about Charlotte Chapel, hoping one day that God would come again to the chapel. She was away. They were away at another place in Scotland, and he died. She returned to her home town, which was Wick, in the very north of Scotland.

God had given her a promise that not in her father, but in her children shall the blessing come. So she clung to this promise. Their little girl was growing up, and a young man came to the Wick Baptist Church as a pastor. They got together, and they got married. He went down to Jedburgh, which was just south of Edinburgh where Charlotte Chapel is.

Then from Jedburgh he was called to the chapel. She was now in the manse, that young girl—beautiful story. Joseph Kemp was not a well man. He went down to Bormouth for a holiday. He was only there for a few days. He heard of the Welsh revival in 1904. He went across to see what was going on. He returned from Wales, and he came into Charlotte Chapel.

He called his elders and deacons together, and they talked together about this thing. And they discussed it. They began on one Saturday afternoon at about 3:00 in the afternoon, and that meeting did not end until 4:00. And suddenly God set Charlotte Chapel alight. Where there were only 40 or 50 people coming, suddenly more and more. And 1,000 people got saved that very year.

So on it went. Joseph Kemp was in the flow of the movement at Charlotte Chapel. He was head of ministry for about ten or fifteen years.

Nancy: Then what I found very sad was that you were telling me today that not only at Charlotte Chapel but in places all across Scotland that have seen the glory of the Lord in times past, that today there’s very little memory or consciousness of what God did or desire or longing for God to do it again.

Colin: Quite a lot of the evangelical churches have got good Bible training, good Bible teaching. Yet one longs for just a touch from heaven, a touch from God. Because we have been so bereft of the Spirit of God working in revival power, that concept is not born in the large groups of the population of the churches. So that’s a great pity.

And may God stir the churches once again to see that it is only He who can bring back the power into the churches and revive them.

Nancy: In the United States, we have a lot of large churches, a lot of active churches, a lot of Christian activity, Christian radio, Christian television, large publishing houses publishing Christian books. And some would say that is revival. But you have tasted of that outpouring of the Spirit of God.

Mary, what’s the difference? Help somebody who’s not experienced what you have experienced understand what would be different. What is it that we’re praying for and believing and longing for God to do in our day that’s different perhaps than what we are experiencing.

Mary: Well, there’s a lot of organization in the church. And the church that you describe, the large churches we have seen in the States, there’s a department for everything. But the difference to me is spontaneity. Because when God comes, you don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s perfect organization in that God is in control. And there’s no confusion and very little noise, no noise.

What I recall of the meetings in Lewis, the only sound would be the voice of the preacher and sometimes the sighing of the people. You would hear them sighing as the sword of the Spirit found its mark in their hearts. So there is a great difference.

I’ve seen a placard saying, “Come to such and such meeting. Tonight there will be healings and signs and wonders and so on.” You couldn’t forecast anything in the revival because you didn’t know what was going to happen. So you came to the meetings and wondered what was God going to do tonight? There might be no healings. There might be no signs and wonders.

But you recall God’s servant Elijah when God passed by. He was not in the earthquake, and He was not in the wind. But it was a still, small voice. But maybe we’re making too much noise nowadays. We’re making a lot of noise in the churches—a lot of music and a lot of this and that and the other thing. And we can’t hear a still, small voice because we don’t expect God to speak in that way.

So I would say that when revival comes there is a spontaneity about it.

Lord, we do thank Thee for the privilege of sharing together. And Thou hast said in Thy Word that those who spoke together like this that Thou didst take note of them. A book of remembrance was written. And we praise Thee, Lord, that Thy Word says that Thou aren’t far from any one of us. And Lord, we love Thee because Thou hast first loved us.

Thou knowest the burden of our hearts, Lord, for this land of Scotland and for the western world. We pray, Lord, that Thou wilt glorify Thy Son. Our concern is more for that, Lord, than even that souls should be saved or that churches should be blessed and enriched. That will happen we know. But our desire is and our longing is to see Christ vindicated, exalted, glorified on earth, reverenced and revered in these lands.

So Lord take Thy place we pray Thee and bless all who listen to this program today in Jesus’ name, amen.

Leslie Basham: That’s Mary Peckham encouraging you to slow down, turn off the noise, and listen. She and her husband Colin have been talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss about the kind of heart attitude that welcomes revival.

If you’ve been intrigued by today’s conversation, would you do what Mary just suggested? Slow down. Get away from the noise and read a booklet from Nancy called Preparing for Revival. Make sure your heart is ready for whatever God wants to do through you. We’ll send you Preparing for Revival at no cost. We’ll also include a CD of the message we heard yesterday from Mary Peckham.

We believe so strongly in the message of revival that we want to put this CD and booklet in your hands with no obligation. Just call and ask for it at 1-800-569-5959. You can also look for this special offer online at www.ReviveOurHearts.com. Again look for the booklet called Preparing for Revival and the message from Mary Peckham on CD, both at no charge when you visit www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

While you’re there, I hope you’ll stay and browse a bit. One of the many features you’ll find there is the daily transcript of the program. And you can also subscribe to Revive Our Hearts as a podcast.

A listener emailed us recently to thank us for the podcast. She said, “I just received an iPod for Christmas and was thrilled to see that your website offers podcasts of your daily radio programs. With my busy schedule I don’t always get the chance to listen to the program on the radio. Now I can download it and put it on my iPod and take it with me to listen whenever I have time. Thank you for your ministry, and may God bless you.”

If you’d like to learn more about our podcast, just visit www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

Contentment is usually an excellent quality. But if a church is just moving along with business as usual, it’s important to have a God-given discontentment. Hear about that tomorrow when Nancy continues her interview with Colin and Mary Peckham.

You know, this week’s topic is dear to Nancy’s heart. Revival is one of the core topics that we return to on Revive Our Hearts. Now let’s take a few minutes to hear Nancy’s heart on why this subject is so important.

Nancy: I grew up in a home, a godly, Christian home, where my parents were first-generation believers. They always had a passion for those who did not know Christ to come into the Kingdom of Christ. But I looked around and saw that so many of the believers that I knew were enduring Christianity rather than enjoying Jesus, its Author.

This was troubling to me. Then as a probably twelve- or thirteen-year-old girl, somehow I came across some accounts of how God had moved in the history of the church to quicken and awaken the church so that they had a new passion for Christ and a new effectiveness in taking the gospel of Christ out into a lost world.

I can remember reading also in the book of Acts the account of Pentecost and what happened when the people of God were filled with the Spirit of God and began to live that life out in the secular community. As I read these accounts, something was quickened in my heart. I remember thinking, “What’s gone wrong?” I knew that God hadn’t changed. This set me on a quest, which has been a lifelong burden and passion to say, “Lord, would You do it again?”

But so many times we as believers today are operating in our own steam in the energy of the flesh trying to develop new programs to motivate people, to get people to be spiritually productive. It’s really consuming a whole lot of energy, but without necessarily a whole lot of fruit.

And I look back and realize that there are times when God chooses to reveal His glory in a new way. The manifest presence and glory of God is experienced among His people. Then the impact that takes place in the lost world is astounding. This set me on a burden to believe God for revival in our day.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

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