Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Psalm 126, Day 10

Byron Paulus:  Revival is not an emotional touch but a complete takeover.

Leslie Basham: That’s Byron Paulus who has seen the incredible, long-lasting results of revival. It touches every part of your life.

This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Woglemuth for Friday, June 3, 2016.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Those who have listened to Revive Our Hearts for any length of time know that we’re not here to promote a ministry. We’re not here to promote a name or a person or an organization. We’re here to promote the truth of God’s Word and the power of His Word and the mission of revival, particularly in the hearts of women.

I want to make a little exception today for that greater purpose. We’ve had the privilege this week of having in the studio Byron Paulus and his wife, Sue. Byron is the executive director of Life Action Ministries, the ministry where I have been privileged to serve.

We’ve been talking this week in the studio about revival, and I just asked Bryon after we finished our recording session today with—our normal recording session where I was teaching—we set up another mic here, and I asked you, Byron, if you would come and just let me ask you some questions about Life Action Ministries.

Now, for our listeners who may be getting confused already, Revive Our Hearts is an outreach of Life Action Ministries, and Revive Our Hearts is really the women’s division of Life Action. Some of our listeners may not be aware of that. In fact, we were at dinner last night with some of the women who come to the recording sessions, and one of them said, “Now, I thought Revive Our Hearts was Life Action.” So I know—she’s a good friend of mine—so there’s some, maybe lack of understanding out there.

It’s just a privilege to have you and Sue here and to have this chance to let you share something of the heart of Life Action, what it’s about, because this is the parent ministry of Revive Our Hearts. We’re on the same page. We have the same mission. We’re committed to the same objective in the hearts of people.

Some women have come to Revive Our Hearts conferences; they hear Revive Our Hearts on the radio; they read my books—and many of them may not realize that there’s this entire ministry that exists for the purpose of getting this message, not just to women, but to whole families and churches and young people and children. There’s much more to it than just what they know at Revive Our Hearts.

Thank you for taking a few extra moments here to join us and to share with our listeners about this today.

Byron: Well, thank you, Nancy, and it’s been a joy for me to be a part of the Revive Our Hearts family as well.

Nancy: I just want to ask you some questions that—I know the answers to these questions, but I think they’re things that our listeners may not know the answers to and may want to know. Some of them may just want to know how did Life Action come about? How long has it been around, and why did it start? How did it get started?

You’ve been here longer than I have. You weren’t there at the very beginning but pretty close. Tell us just a little bit about the background of the ministry.

Byron: Well, I believe the birthing process of our ministry has become a foundation upon which God could bless, by His mercy. It’s none of us. I wasn’t here. You weren’t there, so we can't claim credit.

Our founder, Del Fehsenfeld, Jr. was his name, was a youth minister in Florida—had a very successful youth ministry. If you can imagine this, listeners, he advertised a Saturday night prayer meeting like this: “No pizza, no party, no pop—just a lot of prayer and a lot of power.”

Nancy: This was back in the late 60s when pizza, party, and pop were the way you got kids to come to things, and here they’re saying, “We’re not offering any of that. Just come for prayer.”

Byron: You’re right. It was what drew teenagers, and I think he recognized something that is equally true today as it was in the late 60s and even early 70s. That is that deep down in the heart of even teenagers, especially maybe teenagers today, they realize there’s more than party, and there’s more than pop and pizza. They have a longing for God’s power and His presence.

Nancy: The amazing thing was they did come to pray.

Byron: They really came, and they came, and it was in one of those prayer meetings that God just began to put on the heart of our founder this idea of a whole ministry dedicated to believing God for another spiritual awakening in our nation.

He began to just get ideas that God impressed upon his heart about teams that would travel across the United States with a very family emphasis—ministering to women and ministering to men and entire families . . .

Nancy: . . . in the context of the local church.

Byron: . . . in the context of the local church.

An interesting little side-note here that you probably recall well is that first year he was advised to just get counsel. So he traveled all throughout the United States, met with 120-some leaders just saying, “Here’s what God’s put on my heart. What do you think?” In every case they said, “This is a tremendous idea, but it will never work.”

Nancy: Aren’t we glad he didn’t believe them?

Byron: Amen. He got back to Florida, and he just cried out and said, “God I don’t understand this. You told me to do this, and now they’re all telling me it won’t work.”

It was like God impressed upon his heart, “Don’t you ever forget it. It won’t work apart from Me”—to have a ministry that would be totally dependent upon God and what He can do. Of course, what a picture for all of our lives; we need God and to be dependent upon Him to do what we could never do.

Nancy: He was always reminding us that. Del was still the director of the ministry when I came, back in the late 70s, and he was a man who really just wanted us all to know that it was not us. It was not about us. It was not about what we could do, but we wanted to have a ministry that was a demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God.

Byron: So he began the ministry. We began going into local churches . . .

Nancy: . . . back in 1971?

Byron: Early 70s, yes, ’71, ’72, and God just continued to bless and empower the message and the messenger. We began to see churches really touched by movements of God. This was a little unique approach in the sense that we were asking churches, as we do today, to set aside extended periods of time to call upon the Lord.

Nancy:  You mean by that . . .

Byron: I mean like two week's time, three Sundays, or a minimum of ten days. Some cases as God will begin to move, it will become protracted beyond that into a third week and just to take a long enough time to wait upon Him. In the Old Testament that word wait—it’s not passive—it means "to steadfastly trust or to seek Him," like with all of our hearts and wait upon Him to come and visit.

So I think what was really in his heart (and that’s in all of our hearts today) was not just to get together for another series of meetings with good singing and great preaching and the best of what you can bring together, but to really call God’s people together, especially in a local church, and say, “Lord, we’re waiting for You to come.”

Nancy: These were not meetings designed primarily to reach people outside the church, which is in those days what you would hear about revivals. Still in the South sometimes you’ll hear the word used that way—where it’s an evangelistic preaching service. These were really services designed to minister to the life of the people in that church.

Byron: Certainly with . . . you think of Habakkuk who said, “Revive thy work in the midst of the years” (3:2 KJV), or “Revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee” (Ps. 85:6 KJV).

We found that when you go into a community or a local church and spend some concentrated time on a vertical relationship and reconciling that relationship, then we would see how God, in the following days, would touch hearts as we would begin to focus upon those horizontal relationships—in a home, in our marriages and with children, and even within the church or the workplace—to take the time to really say, “Lord, would You come and meet with us?”

Hey, let's every once in awhile just stop it all . . .

Nancy: Take a time out.

Byron: . . . and, yes, just seek the Lord in that concentrated way.

Nancy: So there are now in Life Action Ministries, four teams that travel nine to ten months a year having this kind of ministry in local churches—fifty or so total a year—for ten days, two weeks, or even longer. Tell us what one of those teams looks like. If one of those teams comes into my church, what’s that going to look like for those who may never have experienced this?

Byron: Right, well, there are fifteen or twenty individuals in each team, and there are those who are what we call revivalists, that really preach that message of revival. There is a major family emphasis with family instructors and then youth revivalists, we call them, and children’s workers and children’s ministers and a worship team and instrumentalists. We’ll come into a church and minister to every age member of the family.

We believe there is in Scripture, in preparing the way for the presence of God, even like John the Baptist had a two-fold message, you’ll recall, of repentance and turning the hearts of the fathers to the children, children to the father, to pave the way for the presence of God physically. So that family emphasis and repentance paves the way for the presence of God spiritually and the outpouring of His Spirit.

We’ve been called America’s family-centered revival team as we come into those churches and minister to every age member of the family. There’s something for four and five-year-olds and first-graders. They’re learning revival principles at their age level.

Nancy: It’s amazing what those kids can pick up on.

Byron: Oh, it really is.

Nancy: Principles of obedience and humility and repentance.

Byron: Then we have a club for grades two through six, and they’re learning those revival principles, and then among the youth, and a real emphasis on marriage and parenting. Boy, some of the things that we’ve seen God do as husbands or wives really take time to say, “God, I’m going to focus on my relationship with You, setting everything else aside for a moment.” Then God, after He meets with them, performs miracles oftentimes in restoring.

Nancy: We have seen that in so many marriages. I’m thinking of that one meeting of the church in New York where a couple ended up there that hadn’t planned on coming.

Byron: Yes, as I recall, that was a large church, and there was a couple there that two years earlier had actually separated and divorced. Neither one had remarried. One had gone to Hawaii and the other one to Florida. They had lost all communication and contact with each other, but both of them decided to come back home to their town in New York on the same week for vacation.

They both got extended invitations to come to one of the services, and they came the same night. One sat on the one side of the auditorium and the other one on the other side of the auditorium. They had no idea they were in the same state, let alone the same building.

God’s Spirit began to convict. Soon one got up out of their seat, and went back to a counseling room or a prayer room, and the other one moments later got up and went back to a room directly across the hall from their former mate.

There on their knees and faces before God, they repented of their sin, became broken before Him, got honest with God. After they met with God, they got up off their knees, walked out into the hallway at the exact same moment, met each other in that hallway, fell in each other’s arms, sought forgiveness from each other, and one of our staff members had the privilege a few weeks later of remarrying that couple. The last I heard, he was serving as pastor, and she, his wife, in ministry—just the miraculous work of God in bringing marriages back together.

Nancy: Even this conversation is making me think back to some times . . . I’m thinking back in the Fort Worth area a number of years ago in the late 80s. You and Sue and I were with a couple just recently who were in that meeting and were deeply impacted.

That was a meeting that was scheduled to go for two weeks, Sunday to Sunday to Sunday, in a church that had a pastor who had been there for years. He was a faithful man of God who had been teaching the Word of God. They had a lot of seminary students in that church, but God began to meet with people and expose things underneath the rocks as the light shone into that church.

It became apparent—and I was in that meeting for most of that time and was remembering this as we were with this couple last weekend—how two weeks turned into three, turned into four, turned into five, and that meeting went six weeks. Those people came night after night after night. It was interesting. This couple was saying that at the time their children were in second and fourth grades, and people said, “There’s no way our children can do this!” They have school. You know, there’s no way we can have them out night after night.

They said, “Our kids got the best grades of their whole school career during those six weeks” because God was sustaining them, but God was also working in their kids’ hearts. It was just a neat thing to see this couple who now, years later—in fact, you may just want to tell a little bit about what God did in the marriage of that one particular couple.

Byron: Well, there’s so many in that setting, as you recall, and it was six weeks and seven Sundays. It wasn’t a matter of whether or not you could get people to come out. Could you get them to stay home? They wanted to go longer, even after that seventh Sunday. It’s because God was there.

You remember—and we’ll get to some of these other illustrations—but, boy, you remember the gentleman who flew in from Nashville, Tennessee? He was a well-known denominational leader. He walked into the back of that auditorium. He said, “I wasn’t there five minutes until I had to fall on my face before the Lord, not in some mystical way or some emotionalism-driven way, but just the presence of God was there." Then he just met with God in a deep way himself.

You’re right, that couple and there are so many other couples and illustrations. But in the case of this couple, God really had, independent of each other, brought about great conviction about unfaithfulness in their marriage, both with the husband and the wife. Now they didn’t know this was happening in each other’s hearts.

Nancy: And it was past.

Byron: It was past, and it was not currently taking place.

Nancy: They had to confess it.

Byron: But it was some time ago. They knew to be right with God, with a biblical counselor and going about it in a biblical way, they knew they could never really have the intimacy and the oneness in their marriage they knew God wanted unless they dealt with that.

They went out. He took her out, and she said, “I’ve got to share something with you that you aren’t going to believe, and you’ll probably never be able to forgive me for this.” It was very difficult.

Then he said to her, “Whatever it is you’ve done, it can’t be as bad as what I’ve done.”

Well, as you can imagine, they both ended up sharing how they had been unfaithful, and God flooded their hearts with the grace of forgiveness one for another. Now, for all these years since then and to this day, they’re serving the Lord faithfully—ministering, teaching, training other couples, mentoring, just being greatly used of the Lord.

I remember, Nancy, you and I and one other person (I can’t remember who it was) went back eighteen months later. Remember that? On a Friday night and Saturday.

Nancy: Yes, and we interviewed one after the other.

Byron: It was such a powerful work of God. We just had to know ourselves, does the fruit really remain? I think there were either twenty-three or twenty-four individuals or couples that we interviewed.

You remember the lady who, I think, summed it all up, and she said, “You don’t understand.” We were asking all these questions, “Does it really last?”

She said, “You don’t understand. Revival is not an emotional touch but a complete takeover.”

Nancy: It’s a complete takeover.

Byron: What a definition of revival!

Nancy: “Not just a touch but a complete takeover.”

If somebody wants to have something like this in their church—I know, we have a lot of listeners who have a heart for revival, that pray for revival. They long to see God move in their church. What can they do? What should they do?

Byron: Well, what should they do? Number one, more important than having a Life Action team in their church, is pray. Ask God to prepare the heart of the leadership, to prepare their own heart, and to cry out to Him for revival in their midst.

I do believe that God throughout history has used itinerates and has used different ministries to help seek the Lord together. We come in, and we pray together. We seek the Lord together. We laugh together. We cry together, but we ask God together to visit us and them together, as a body of Christ.

For our listeners, if you just go to ReviveOurHearts.com, and there will be a link there to be able to connect to the outreaches of Life Action Ministries.

We’re a family ministry. That’s why we have the women’s ministry division. Now we believe God wants to bring families together in a deeper way and more intimate relationships. We have family camps in the summer where whole families can come and be ministered to—the children and the teenagers and the adults. Again, all with that emphasis of revival of the heart—revive our hearts—and see what God does in our families as a result.

Leslie: That’s Byron Paulus, the executive director of Life Action Ministries. He’s been talking with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth and helping us get a new picture of revival—one that will transform lives and families. He’ll be right back to pray.

But first let me tell you some exciting news. You can get involved in praying for the type of revival we’ve been hearing about today in a unique experience. There’s power when women come together to pray. And in a day with so much bad news and darkness, we’re asking the Lord to call together at least a 100,000 women in thousands of locations to pray together for revival.

Will you be part of Cry Out: A Nationwide Prayer Event for Women? Here’s how to get involved. Get together with women you know and organize a group for women to come and pray, September 23. You’ll join with others by connecting to a simulcast from Cry Out! True Woman '16. Would you ask the Lord whether this is something He’d have you get involved in? Then get more information at ReviveOurHearts.com. You can also sign up your group there - again, it’s ReviveOurHearts.com.

How do you handle differences in marriage? What’s the greatest gift a wife can give her husband? What should a wife do if her husband blows it? Should she confront or let love cover sins? Barbara Rainey will talk with Nancy next week about all those questions.

Barbara Rainey: We've been so surrounded, and still are, by divorce and by couples that are failing. It's sad. It makes all of us think less of marriage. I want to lift marriage up and help us think more of it again. And help women say this is worth fighting for. It's worth hanging in there. It's worth the seasons of winter to get to spring again.

So my hope is that it will encourage and strengthen marriages all over the world to say this is worth fighting for.

Leslie: To wrap up our time today, let’s get back to Byron Paulus and Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth.

Nancy: I wonder if we could just close this time. I’d like to ask if you would pray for Revive Our Hearts and for our ministry, for our listeners, many of whom really do have a heart and a hunger to see God move. Let’s just join our hearts together and pray that God really will send that revival.

God doesn’t have to use Life Action or Revive Our Hearts. We want to see Him—we just want to be there to see it when God chooses to blow upon His people once again. Would you pray for us?

Byron: Lord, with Isaiah we cry out together. With our hearts united with the listeners who are praying in their cars or at home or in the workplace, Lord, we turn to You. Oh that You would rend the heavens, God, that You would come down. God, that the mountains, whatever they might be in our lives and in our hearts, whether it’s mountains of bitterness or hurt or mountains of unresolved conflict, or mountains of moral impurity or sexual impurity; God, whatever those mountains are, God, would You come down and tear down those walls and obstacles that stand between us and all that You want to do in our generation in this day?

God, I would pray that You would begin in each of our hearts, in my heart, in Nancy’s. Oh God, would You do a fresh work in our individual lives? God, we ask You to convict us of sin because, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8 KJV). We want to see You, Lord.

God, I pray that You would move deeply and that You would move powerfully. Would You send an old-fashioned, Holy Spirit-empowered revival to our hearts, to Your Church today? God, would you deal with the cold and complacent and carnal hearts that are so prevalent today, and God, replace it with humility and honesty and hunger and fill our hearts with hope in what You can do?

God, I pray that You’d put a sense of urgency in each of our hearts and give us an understanding of Your ways. God, I pray that you would unite Your Church today. “How blessed and how good it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Psalm 133:1 KJV). You command Your blessing there, You tell us in Your Word.

God, would You send a spirit of repentance and restitution and reconciliation? God, would You regenerate so many who are lost today, resulting in a myriad and thousands of conversions like we read about in history? God, may consciences be cleared and conflicts resolved and the great commission embraced.

Oh God, I pray that there would be a great harvest of souls as a result of the work that You do in Your Church. God, I pray that we would not be so earth-bound but heavenly-minded and that Your homes would stand for righteousness and truth; and oh God, that Your Holy Spirit would come and dwell in the midst of Your people. God, do Your work in Your Church.

God, would you please quicken the heart of Your children. And God, would you do in this nation like You’ve done in history in transforming every segment of our culture and society with the power of Your Word and the power of Your Spirit? God, come. “Even so come quickly, Lord Jesus” (Rev. 22:20 KJV). Come in our midst. Do Your work Your way for Your glory.

Lord, I do pray for Revive Our Hearts. O God, would you bless that ministry? God, would you cause that to not just be a phrase or words but a reality in the hearts of women all across this nation, that their hearts would experience the incredible joy and freedom and fruitfulness and fulfillment that comes from being revived and being in harmony in our hearts with You?

So God, I pray that You’d provide their every need. I pray that You’d use it to raise up a generation of women that literally would be used of You as Your instrument in our generation to transform this nation for Your glory. Thank You, Lord, for what You’re going to do. We ask this in the powerful name of Jesus, amen.

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

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