Revive Our Hearts Podcast

A Revived Church on the Move

Leslie Basham: Sammy Tippit asks, “When people from around the world immigrate to your community, what do they find?”

Sammy Tippit: In their minds, this is a Christian country. They come here, and they see what they see on TV and in movies and all this, and they’re confused. They need to see the reality of people who know Jesus.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Thursday, August 15.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Yesterday we heard the first part of a message from international revivalist and evangelist Sammy Tippit. Sammy was telling us about the connection between revival and evangelism. When God revives His people, then they are empowered and motivated to share the gospel with those around them.

I think of Psalm 110 that says, “Your people will volunteer freely in the day of your power” (v. 3). When God’s power is present among His people, when their first love for Jesus is rekindled, then they can’t help but telling others around them about the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Well, Sammy delivered this message several months ago at a vision gathering hosted by Life Action Ministries. Life Action is the parent ministry of Revive Our Hearts.

Now, when we left off yesterday, Sammy was telling us about some of his travels in Romania in the 1980s. He was ministering in the northwestern region of Romania. In that area the church was growing, it was full of life and passion in spite of intense government persecution. And that growth and vitality was because God was visiting His people in revival and no one, no government authority could stop it.

The people in those revived churches began to have a burden for others in their country who had never heard the gospel. They asked Sammy to help them travel over a mountainous area to new areas that had never been exposed to the gospel. Let’s pick up that story.

Sammy: One of my friends said to me, “We can’t go. We can’t cross these mountain ranges. We can’t do that. We don’t have transportation. We don’t have vehicles. You do. You have a car here.”

And he said, “Take us, and let’s go across the mountain range. Let’s go to where the revival hasn’t been, and let’s preach the gospel there.”

I said, “What kind of problems will we have?”

He said, “We don’t know, but that’s okay. We must reach the world.”

We would talk about this, and we would pray about this. By the way, my friends would critique my sermons and say, “Sammy, you should have said this here and all of these things. And we would go over there into these places.”

It was so thrilling because I remember we went. What we would do is the first year we decided we would not preach evangelistically. The first year we would go, and we would set the church to pray. We would teach the church to pray and to seek God for revival and to seek God for their friends, their friends, their relatives, the people they worked with—that they would come to know Jesus.

So we would teach, and we would set them to praying. One of the great differences between the Romanian church and the American church is this. When you teach them to do something, they would do it; whereas, we fill our notebooks but never do it.

And so we’d come back a year later, and we’d go to those same places. We’d hold evangelistic meetings, and God would move. God would work. We would see as many people come to Christ in those places as we would in where the revival was taking place. We saw God move and work.

I can remember in a little place called Gallots. We preached every night there in evangelistic meetings after first having had our conference on revival and prayer. We came back a year later and preached. The church was so full. People were standing outside. This was in the middle of winter in sub-zero temperatures. It was so packed with people that the pastor arrived late and he couldn’t get in. But we had to go on with the services.

At Gallots there is a river. We went to the riverbed every night. Right next to the river. You could look across and could see the former Soviet Union. We would pray, “O God, pour out Your Spirit there. Send revival there. Lord, let Your kingdom come.” And we would weep.

When I say “we,” it would be a group of Americans and Romanians together. We would go down there, and we would pray. We would seek the face of God, and we’d say, “God, let Your kingdom be extended. Oh God, don’t let what You're doing stop here. Lord, we pray in the name of Jesus that it would go in the former Soviet Union.”

We did this for eight years. Probably the greatest thing that we did was when we went across those mountains. No one else had ever gone across those mountains.

Finally, my friend Titus said to me, “Sammy, instead of an American singing group, we need to bring a Romanian singing group.”

I said, “Titus, would that be dangerous for those young people?”

He said, “Yes. They may lose their education. They may go to jail. But that’s a part of the cost.”

We brought a young people’s singing group. In order to be in the singing group, you had to memorize 1 John, 1 Peter, and the book of James. They would stand, sing a song, quote a chapter; sing a song, quote a chapter; sing a song, quote a chapter; sing a song, quote a chapter. Those young people were so on fire for Jesus.

In 1988 when I was arrested and put out of the country, they told me you’d never be allowed back in the country. What they didn’t know was that God is on His throne. In December of 1989, an evangelical pastor in Timisoara was to be arrested. When the Securitate came, Christians came and they made a circle around his home to try to protect him from being arrested.

They joined arm in arm, and the Securitate, the secret police, came in and they began to fire into innocent men, women, and children. And when the blood of the martyrs began to flow into the streets of Timisoara, there was the release of God’s glory among the people of God.

More than 200,000 people gathered in the main square of Timisoara. Peter Dugalescu, pastor of the First Baptist Church stood. They were gathered to protest. These were not Christians. These were atheists—people who had been taught all of their lives, “There is no God” from kindergarten to post-graduate university level. They gathered to protest the slaughter of these innocent men, women, and children.

Peter Duglascu stood and he began to preach. As he began to preach, there was a release of God’s Spirit and 200,000 people began to shout, “Existe un Dumnezeu! Existe un Dumnezeu! Existe un Dumnezeu!” Which translated means “There is a God. There is a God. There is a God.”

This spread to every major metropolitan center in the nation. Romanian friends contacted me and said, “Sammy, that for which we have been praying is finally happened. You must return right now.”

I left everything I was doing. I was actually speaking, I think, at Precept Ministries at the time. I left Precepts and got on a plane and flew to Vienna, Austria. Friends picked me up in Vienna. We drove to the border where they had said, “You will never be allowed back in this country again.”

We pulled up to that border crossing, and the first question always asked at the border was, “Do you have Bibles?” If you had Bibles, you were in trouble. We pulled up. I’ll never forget that night. I have a picture of it in my office. I’ll never forget that night. Soldiers came out. The snow was coming down. It was cold. Everyone was trying to leave the country. A revolution was in progress. We were the only ones going in.

A soldier said, “Get out of the car.” We got out of the car, and they asked this question, “Are you Christians?” My heart began to beat and I said, “Yes, sir. We’re Christians.” I will never forget what happened next. That soldier threw his arms open wide and said, “Welcome to the new Romania.” (Applause)

On the very spot where they told me, “You will never be allowed back in this country.” On that very spot we knelt and gave glory and honor and praise to Jesus Christ. We went in. What I can tell you is that for the next five years the evangelistic harvest was absolutely incredible—absolutely incredible.

In fact, they said to me, “Sammy, as soon as it warms up, you must come back, and we must hold an evangelistic crusade in the football stadiums here in Romania.” One week before their first elections, I went to Romania and for the first time in the history of the nation, I stood in a football stadium to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Right before I preached, my interpreter turned to me and said, “Sammy, do you know what today is?”

I said, “What’s today?”

He said, “Today is the day that God has answered the prayer that our pastor taught us to pray years ago, that we would stand in the great stadiums and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

I fell on my face on that platform and said, “Oh God!”

Preached. We went to every city, major city in Romania and held stadium crusades following that.

When we finished the crusade in Romania, my friend Titus said, “Sammy, remember how we prayed at the river for the Soviet Union? Let’s go do this in the Soviet Union.” Now, I’ve been arrested three times in my life, once in Chicago, for preaching—all for preaching by the way. Once in Chicago in the nightclub district, once in Romania that I told you about and was deported, but once in the Soviet Union. A

I said, “Titus, my name is in their computers. I don’t think they’re going to let this . . .”

He said, “Let’s do this, Sam.”

“Okay.”

We went to the Soviet border, the Republic of Muldova which has a lot of ties with Romania, that was one of their republics. We went in, we sat down with their leaders. We said, “For the first time in the history of Romania, God opened the door and we stood in the stadium – we just finished preaching in a stadium – on a football stadium – and God opened the doors and we saw hundreds and hundreds of people come to Christ.”

In fact, in these stadium meetings it was really funny because there was no music. The reason there was no music was because there was 95% non-believers – not Christians – non-believers in these stadiums. So they didn’t know these Christian songs so we couldn’t sing because they didn’t know anything. The only song we could sing, the theme song for the revolution was a song about the second coming of Christ. Everybody knew that song. That was the only song we would sing. And it was just amazing what God was doing.

So we went in and told them, in the former Soviet Union in the Republic of Moldova, we told them what God had just done. And they said, “Let’s believe God to do it here.” We got down on our faces, and we cried out to God with them, and they said, “Lord, open the doors.”

Within six months, I stood in the national stadium and preached for the first time in the history of Moldova. Then the Moldovan’s got excited about it and they said, “We’ve got to go to Ukraine. So let’s go to Ukraine.”

We went to Ukraine and then the Ukrainians, the Moldovans, and the Romanians together said, “We’ve got to go to Siberia.” I said, “Let’s go to Siberia.”

We stood in places in Siberia where there were no churches, no Christians, and we preached in stadiums to thousands of people. Between 1990 and 1995, you couldn’t do that today, but between 1990 and 1995 you could just go and announce that you were coming, and they’d fill stadiums because God was visiting the place.

That’s why what I said is that God just began to show me that if you stay when God moves and God comes and God visits, if you stay within your own little circle and your own little confine, that was never the intent of God. If you listened to what Bob said the other night, he kept praying for the extension of God’s kingdom, they prayed for the extension of God’s kingdom. What does that mean?

The extension of God’s kingdom is evangelism. It’s people coming to Christ. That’s what it means. It means people coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. What is that? That is people coming to know Jesus Christ.

Now what does this have to do with us today? Well, let me share with you a story about Brazil, and then I want to come back to America and close it up with that. I took this method. I said, “If God did this in Romania, if God did this in Monroe, Louisiana, this is the greatest method of evangelism the church has ever been given. Revival evangelism.”

So what we did was God began to open the doors for us to preach evangelistic meetings all over the world. God put it in my heart before I preached evangelism, what we had learned in Romania was to go and set the church to praying.

One of the countries that asked me to come was the nation of Brazil. I went there, and it was just like the Monroe experience in that it was a total flop at first. I mean, there were huge downpours, floods that took place when I went there. Only twenty or thirty people were in our meetings. But I found one pastor, one pastor. If you know Baptist kind of polity, he was the executive director of their state Baptist convention. He had a burden for revival—that one pastor.

I sat with him at lunch. I just poured my heart out. I told him what God had done in Romania; I told him what God had done in Louisiana, and I told him that what is needed is revival. He said, “Sammy, that’s what we need in Brazil. Would you come? I’ll gather all the pastors in our state. You come and preach and teach on revival.”

I went there and preached and taught on revival. He brought in a couple of other evangelism directors from other states. They came. They caught the vision. They asked me to come to their states. Finally, the national mission board . . . (By the way, right behind the Southern Baptists which is the largest mission agency are the Brazilian Baptists. They have a vision for the world.)

So their national mission agency came and met with me and said, “Sammy, we need a nationwide conference in Brazil on revival." We held a nationwide conference on revival. Then they said this to me, “Sammy, would you go to every state capitol and hold a conference on revival and then follow that conference on revival up with evangelism?”

We began to do that through Brazil. For ten years we had a partnership which we reinstated here in the last few years. We went across Brazil, and we saw this incredible harvest. I’m not saying there was a great outpouring of God’s Spirit where we had revival like Romania or they had revival like Monroe, Louisiana, but as they got on their hearts the heart of God and God began to work in their lives, the church began to reach out.

They’ve asked us to come back. We are right now in the process of training every one of their missionaries in revival evangelism. I am convinced that if we can see what’s on God’s heart, there is no limit to what God can do. But we have to get the heart of God on our heart. That’s why we pray for revival. What do we pray for? “God, make me like Jesus. Let me feel what Jesus feels.”

Listen, revival is not the end. The end is Jesus. It’s becoming like Him. It’s His kingdom. It’s all about Him. It’s His glory. It’s not about Sammy Tippit. It’s not about Life Action Ministries. It’s not about the Romanian church. It’s not about the Pakistani church. It’s about the glory of Jesus Christ around the world. And when you begin to pray that way, there’s something that God honors.

Listen, powerful praying is when you pray what’s on God’s heart. Most of our praying is what’s on our hearts. But you pray what’s on His heart, and He will do extraordinary things. But in order for that to happen, you’ve got to see the world.

I’m reminded in the Scriptures of the blind man that Jesus touched. Jesus came and Jesus touched the blind man. And remember, he saw. But when he saw, he saw people as inanimate objects. He saw them as trees. Then Jesus touched him a second time. When he touched them the second time, he saw people as they really were. I’m convinced that what the church today needs is a fresh touch from God that enables us to see the world as it is.

Facebook has been just a good teaching tool for me. I’m talking about teaching me of what’s happening in the church today. I have a lot of Christian friends all over. I am amazed at how angry Christians are because we’re not getting our political way. I’m saying, “Oh, God, we’ve lost sight that Jesus. . . .” Listen, God’s glory always comes in the midst of darkness. The darker it gets, the more apt people are to seek God.

Dr. Roy Fish, who passed away, was a great professor of evangelism. We were at a conference together and someone asked him, “Dr. Fish, you see any hope for revival in America today?”

And he said, “There is one hope that I see.”

Everyone was wondering “What is this? What is the hope that you see?”

He says, “We have no hope. That’s always when the church begins to cry to God for revival, when we become hopeless and then we say, 'Our only hope is in Jesus.'" When we come to the place where it’s not Republicans or Democrats or Independents or our what we think, but it’s “Jesus, You are our only hope.” When we come to that place, that’s when we will see revival. We can reach the world right here in America.

Some of the hungriest people are the ethnic communities that have immigrated here. I can tell you that absolutely. This is what must happen in America. We’re afraid of this whole new wave of immigrants. The church had backed off and lived in fear when what we ought to do is in love and kindness and grace reach out and share the good news of Jesus Christ with them.

They come to this country believing that it’s a Christian country. In their minds, this is a Christian country. They come here, and they see what they see on TV and in movies and all this, and they’re confused. They need to see the reality of people who know Jesus.

I can tell you something. There will be something that will happen to you as you begin to reach out to those. God will expand your circle. You will cross a mountain. You will go across that mountain to where the gospel has not been. But we’ve got to have God’s heart.

Revival Evangelism. Which comes first? I don’t know. Are they together? But I do know this. The greatest harvest comes during times of revival. We have the potential to reach the whole world right here in North America.

Nancy: Sammy Tippit’s been giving us a vision for some of the amazing things that God is doing around the world to draw His Church to Himself in revival. He’s been showing us how revival in the Church leads to greater opportunities for evangelism and greater fruitfulness and harvest among those who need Jesus. He’s been showing us how we can affect the world from right where we are.

My heart was stirred when I heard Sammy give this message for the first time at a vision gathering sponsored by Life Action Ministries. It gave me a fresh burden to ask the Lord to revive His people and to make the Church more effective at sharing the gospel with the lost world around us.

Sammy Tippit has written a terrific book that shares more of his passion to see God revive His Church and bring the gospel to the world. The book is called Fire in Your Heart. I don’t think you can read this book without getting some more fire in your own heart.

We want to make it available to our listeners today. We’ll be glad to send that to you as our way of saying “thank you” when you support the ministry of Revive Our Hearts with a donation of any amount. Your support for this ministry makes it possible for us to share the gospel with women across the United States and around the world. I’m so grateful for those who partner with this ministry financially.

So when you make a gift of any amount, just ask us to send you a copy of Sammy Tippit’s book called, Fire in Your Heart. You can make your donation today by giving us a call at 1-800-569-5959, or if you’d rather do that online, you can visit us at ReviveOurHearts.com.

When you make your donation, be sure and ask for a copy of the book called, Fire in Your Heart. I know that God will use it to put even greater fire in your own heart.

Leslie: Thanks, Nancy. And tomorrow, Nancy will tell us the biblical story of a woman who was married to a harsh, unreasonable man. Her story will give you a lot of insight into “How to Live with the Fools in Your Life.” I hope you’ll join us for Revive Our Hearts.

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

 

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