Thursday, December 20, 2007

Why have Revival? Why not Renewal?

These are the words from Rev. Duane Eastman, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lamar, CO. This was printed in the FBC Lamar newsletter The Messenger.

Last year Myrna and I enjoyed a rare Christmas with our grandsons in West Virginia. We never dreamed that we would celebrate Christmas in Lamar in 2007. It's a new experience for us, and that is good! That's because Christmas is about how God comes to us in the new.

There is a lot of talk these days in evangelical churches about revival. When I asked a colleague what he meant by "revival" he responded by expressing a longing for a movement of the Spirit of God as in the days of Jonathan Edwards, Charles Finney, or Billy Graham. Sometimes we long for the "good old days" of the Spirit, as if God is not as powerful now as He was in the past. It is a spiritual nostalgia myth to believe that if we go back to doing things as they were done back then, we will experience the same kind of spiritual awakening, i.e. "the good old days." But for the believer, the good days of the Spirit of God are always right now.

The word "revival" does not appear in the Bible. "Revive," as in "to resuscitate," appears only four times-all Old Testament references. To return to the nostalgic past has never, ever been the way of God. While it is the natural way of mankind it has always been a barrier to our experiencing the new things God is doing. The Israelites failed to see Jesus for who he was, because of nostalgia. They were trapped into seeing the status with God defined by the "good old days" of temple worship, military might of David's throne, and possession of the land. That nostalgic memory blinded them to the vision of God's kingdom and purposes as fulfilled in the church.

In contrast to "revival," the word "new" appears nearly 200 times in the Bible with significant emphasis on concepts such as new hear, new covenant, new people, new way, new teaching, new wine, new wine skins, new commands, new creation, new self, new order, new name, new birth, new heaven, new earth, new song, etc. In Revelation 21:5 is the final proclamation: He who was seated on the throne said, "I am making everything new!" Obviously, to understand the church in the paradigm of the old, as a modern equivalent of ancient Israel, is a critical mistake. in the same way, to try to return the church to what it was in the past is also a mistake. too many things are new. Virtually every facet of our social structure (government, education, community, family, corporate business, etc.) has gone through a major revolution. Accordingly, it seems that instead of praying for "revival" we should be seeking "renewal."

To suggest the use of "renewal" instead of "revival" is more than semantics. It is a critical awareness of the radical nature of the New Covenant initiated by the birth of Christ. He saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5). Renewal is a return, but not to the forms or formulas of the past. It is a return to daily dependency on the Holy Spirit, who always leads God's people into the realm of the "new mandate." Renewal means that the focus is not on the way things were, but on the humbled hear and transforms it into a heart for God. Renewal means to trust God, not our habits. Renewal means to respond to all situations for a heart that is motivated by love.

It seems appropriate that only a week after we celebrate the birth of the Savior that we enter a new calendar year.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Love lives and thrives on the vibrant, fresh edge of life.

James and I went to a marriage seminar called "Marriage - How to Make a Good One Better" the other day and we really, really liked it. It gave us a lot of valuable information and has made us understand each other so much better.

Rev. Dr. Ray Lincoln was speaker at the seminar. The words that I am going to put here are his, and something I suggest everyone who is married take to heart. I must suggest if you ever have a chance to take one of Dr. Lincoln's seminars, you should do it!

Nutrients to Grow Your Love-
The Way to a Better Relationship
The growing edge of your mind is the exciting frontier of your own world. It is where ideas are born and love is kept fresh and new. So, keep mentally fresh; learn more about yourself, your spouse, your world, and God. Read; study; get informed; explore! Fill your inner life with a lot of joy-passion and/or excitement-and it will change the nature of your outer world, keeping love vibrant. Live on the edge!

Dull people are never good lovers. Dull minds are poor meeting grounds for hungry souls starved by the routine boredom of daily grind. Freshen up the cutting edge of your life. Put some thrill back into living. Do exciting things; explore the vast unknown world out there that holds the power to renew your spirit and your mind. God gave it to us for this very purpose and we pay a price when we neglect to enjoy God's gifts. Love is not an emotion to be protected lest it be lost. It is a living, fragile dynamic to be risked in the thrills and bumps of life.

Grow your life and love; the alternative is deadly! Don't get so caught up in the demands of living and working that life itself passes you by and routine causes you to lose life's sparkle.

Learning is the potent wind of change that blows over our lives stimulating us all to new things - making us fresh and exciting in all we do. Stop learning and the edges of your life begin to shrink and the green leaves turn brown as you fade into a long autumn of diminishing motivation. In this context it is not without meaning that this withering is called "fall." The learning edge of life is where our attention must be focused if we are to achieve a refreshingly exciting love.

One more important thought. Love is a life force. Any life force that is not nurtured and fed with atrophy and die. For loves ultimate health feed it a variety of nutrients.

Those nutrients are:
  • Joy
  • Hope
  • Peace
  • Kindness
  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Longsuffering (This smooths out the rough places. God's health packet contains a supply of it for emergencies)
  • Goodness
  • Loads of appreciation and love shown in what we do, and always in our words, is dessert for the human spirit.

Other nutrients are found in the Bible!
  • 1 Corinthians 13
  • Romans 12
  • Philippians 4

Monday, December 10, 2007

Dove commercial... "Evolution"

14 Down... 93 to go...

I stepped on the scale again this morning and it showed me 248. I think that is possibly the lowest since I started WW. I have such a long way to go, 93 pounds in fact. I am trying not to get down on myself. I am not losing as fast as I would like. I know a lot of it is my fault for not eating the correct things. I have been sticking to the points, but I haven't been eating the veggies and fruits like I am supposed to. I have been drinking pop too. That, I stopped yesterday. NO MORE POP FOR ME! Hopefully that will help. I am pretty sure it will. I will be drinking more water and less calories!

Anyway, I am going to go swimming here in a little bit, so I have to actually get out of my pajama's. I'll post more later.

Monday, December 3, 2007


So, I stepped on the scale this morning and was back down under 250! I weighed 249. Only 1 pound under, but that is ok... its not 250!

I also went swimming today and started out by swimming a 500 freestyle. I have never done a 500 in under 10 minutes, even when I was a lifeguard at the Rec. Center in Gillette (which was a requirement). I did it today in 8 minutes!! I was soooo happy. I wasn't even that tired after it, so I kept swimming and did another 500. The second one was breaststroke and backstroke. Swimming just feels so good.

I also took my measurments this morning and was down another inch. I am down 11 inches since starting. I was only down 1/2 an inch in my waist and 1/2 inch in my hips since Nov. 9. Not a lot, but some. Hopefully I start losing more! Anyway... that's all for now.

Edited picture of the Fischer family