Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Empowered to Serve

Leslie Basham: A natural-born organizer, a gifted singer, a person with a heart for helping others. Do any of these describe you? If so, terrific! If not, don't worry. Whatever your particular talent or ability, God has equipped you to serve. It's Monday, January 10, and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

There are lots of good causes around these days. Opportunities to love and serve others surround us, but a lot of times we have to be prodded before we'll help. But when God revives us, our hearts change and helping others becomes our greatest priority. All this week Nancy Leigh DeMoss will be talking about the characteristics of revival. She begins her time today talking about one particular mark of revival, service.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: There's a fascinating article that appeared a number of years ago in Reader's Digest, I don't know if you caught it, but it was called "Our Kindest City." And this writer spoke of two studies that had been done fifty years apart. The first was in 1940 and the second was in the early 1990's, studying a variety of different American cities.

In the first study there were forty-some and the next study there were thirty-some, U.S. cities, and they wanted to find out what was America's kindest city. So this team of researchers went into towns all across the United States and they ranked each of these cities by how helpful people were in those cities. At the very bottom of the list was New York City.

But surprisingly at the top of the list, not only in the first survey but also in the second study, was Rochester, New York. The writer of this article who was not involved in the study had seen the study and was intrigued and wanted to find out why Rochester, two times -- a half-century apart -- would have been selected as the kindest city in the United States.

His research led him to something fascinating. Back in the early 1800's he discovered that a man named Charles Finney had come to the city of Rochester and had begun to preach the Gospel, had preached about people confessing their sins. There was an enormous change that took place in the whole social and moral fabric of that city over that period of six months that Finney ministered in the city of Rochester.

This was, of course, in the middle of what we now look back on and call the second "Great Awakening" in the United States. And to think now that over a hundred years later this city was still experiencing some of the impact of what had taken place in the hearts of people during that great awakening.

We've been looking over the past week and continuing this week of some of the characteristics of revival and what happens when the presence of God comes and visits with His people in an extraordinary season that we can call revival, not meetings, not an event, not emotionalism, but God coming down in an extraordinary way and meeting with His people.

One of the common characteristics in a season of revival is that the Church, the people of Christ, are motivated. They are mobilized and they are empowered for service. What God is doing within the four walls of the church doesn't stay in the four walls of the church. It goes out; it has ramifications and implications that are far-reaching.

There's a wonderful little verse in Psalm chapter 110 that says,

"The people will volunteer freely
In the day of Thy power" (Psalm 110:3--paraphrased).

When the power of God, the presence of God comes upon His people, the people are motivated. They are mobilized and they are empowered to serve the Lord.

In times of revival you don't have to beg people to do what they ought to be doing to serve the Lord. There's a heart of gratitude and devotion that just spontaneously reaches out to serve. This is seen in a number of different areas and; in fact, I think it's interesting to observe that virtually every great evangelistic thrust, every great social reform movement, and every great missionary movement in the history of our country has been birthed in a season of revival in the church.

For example, in the area of giving,

"God's people will volunteer freely
In the day of Thy power" (Psalm 110:3).

When God moves in times of revival and He gets their hearts, He also gets their pocketbooks. And pastors don't have to stand up in church and beg the people to give. Can you imagine a church service where the pastor would say, "We've had so much giving toward this building need or this missions program we really can't even use any more funds, find somewhere else to give your money."

We're laughing because we can't imagine this happening, but do you know that in the second Great Awakening there came a point where the total annual income of all the benevolent societies, many of which grew up out of the revival, the total annual income of these societies was comparable to the entire budget of the federal government.

You see, we're looking to the federal government today to do many of these things that God really intended the Church to be doing. And in times of revival, those funds are released in giving. The whole area of missions"¦during the early 1700's God sent an incredible moving of His Spirit among a group of believers who were known as the Moravians. That revival actually spawned a prayer meeting that went on twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week for one hundred years -- a non-stop one-hundred year-long prayer meeting that came out of that revival.

During that period of time the Moravians sent out more missionaries from their little ranks to go to other parts of the world to take the Gospel, more missionaries than all Protestants combined had sent out in the previous two-hundred years.

"Your people will volunteer freely
in the day of Your power" (Psalm 110:3).

The whole area of evangelism"¦in times of revival God's people have a new burden for the lost and a new boldness in their witness. In fact, revival is not just so that we can enjoy it, but so that God can be glorified and His Gospel known throughout the world.

I think of that passage in Psalm 67, the first two verses are a wonderful prayer for revival. And the Psalmist says,

"O God, be merciful to us and bless us,
And cause Your face to shine upon us" (Psalm 67:1).

That's a description of revival in the hearts of God's people. Why? So,

"That Your ways may be known upon earth,
Your saving health among all nations" (Psalm 67:2).

You see when the Church falls in love with Jesus, that newly-cleansed, newly-revived Bride can't wait to go and tell others about her Bridegroom. And you don't have to put in their hands, at that point, all the methods. You don't have to cajole or tell them all the reasons they ought to be witnessing to their neighbors and their fellow employees -- there's a burden and a heart to share what they have found in Christ.

When God moved on the campus of Asbury College and Seminary in the early 1970's, it was said that revived persons began at once to tell the Good News. Some could be found witnessing on the street, going from door-to-door, talking in shopping centers, filling stations, barber shops, grocery stores, factories and other places of business.

There's another area that is impacted as the Church experiences revival and that is the whole area of moral and social reform. The second Great Awakening sparked the anti-slavery movement, prison reform, the temperance movement, child labor laws, inner-city missions. More than six-hundred colleges in the mid-west were founded by revivalists.

In the nation of Wales, when God moved in revival in a short period of time, in two counties, the illegitimate birth rate was reduced by forty-four percent. The judges were given "white gloves" because there were no cases to try. Crime declined greatly.

In fact, the policemen, whose job was to keep order where there were crowds, the crowds of people were at the churches, so the policemen actually formed Gospel singing quartets (kind of like our praise bands today) and went to the churches to keep order.

There was order being kept because the Spirit of God was there moving"¦but moral and social reform. The big industry in Wales in that day was mining. And it was said that the coal miners had to actually re-train the mules, the pit ponies, who pulled the carts of coal because the mules were so used to the miners using profanity to get them to move that when their language got cleaned up, the mules didn't understand what they were saying.

I remember a staff member of an organization in this country that is dedicated to moral and social reform talking to me about this matter of abortion. And he said, "Nancy, we could change all the abortion laws in this country. But if we don't have a revival the hearts of people will not change and the issue will really remain unchanged."

I think of another man of God who has been greatly used in the battle of pornography, an older man who has served the Lord for many years and he said to me, "Nancy, the older I get the more I find myself praying for revival in the Church because I know that apart from God moving in His Church in revival, there is no hope of winning this battle against pornography."

We can read about all that God has done in the past as He has sent revival and the impact that has had on homes and cultures and nations. I don't believe we have ever begun to see what it is that God wants to do and can do in our day as the Church experiences genuine revival.

Leslie Basham: When God revives His Church, we're empowered to do great things. We want to see God do a fresh work of His Spirit in our day and that's why we're excited about a new series coming up two weeks from today. It will be called "Seeking Him." We'll spend twelve weeks talking about the marks of personal revival.

If you want to grow in your passion and hunger for the Lord, don't miss this series. You'll come away understanding the power of forgiveness, knowing what it's like to have a clear conscience and you'll have a greater passion for holiness.

We're giving you a chance to try something different. We're asking you to go through a personal Bible study called Seeking Him. You'll study the Scripture for yourself in daily sections of a workbook, then you can listen to Nancy teach related material on the air. You still have time to order the workbook, Seeking Him. Just call us at 1-800-569-5959. That's 1-800-569-5959.

When you call us this week, you can also ask us for a free booklet called, When Do We Need Revival? You can also ask for a copy by writing us a note. The booklet is free, but would you remember that we're able to speak the truth into women's lives because listeners like you give. If God is putting it on your heart, would you send a donation? Again the address is Revive Our Hearts, PO Box 2000, Niles, MI 49120.

When we experience revival we'll want to share it with others. We'll talk about that tomorrow. Please be here for Revive Our Hearts.

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

Thank you, Robin, for preparing today's Revive Our Hearts for the Internet.

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