And I've been hearing about "revival's a-coming" lately. We've seen a great movement in our youth at GCC and the prayer/worship nights have been amazing. But where does revival actually start? On an individual basis - it has to. Or at least TRUE revival does. One person's fire can spark someone's else's. Remember it is said, "love your neighbor as yourself." (that started in Leviticus 19:18). And we can't truly love without God, for He IS love. We have to have God in our hearts before we can even begin to love ourselves. And if we can't love ourselves, we can't TRULY love others (thanks for sparking me with your blog Jennifer!). Oh, we can do good deeds and go through the motions - and that's a start. But that's not enough. Our hearts HAVE to be right with HIM. And where does he take us to be with Him only -- into the Wilderness! The desert - the lonely places where it's just me and Him.
So I'm learning that first I need to test myself because I certainly do not want to fail the big test come judgement day. And I need to embrace HIS love for me. Like he said to Jeremiah: "I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness." (31:3). And Jesus abided in God's love - and so we should abide in Him. And if we are abiding (to remain, stay, dwell, long-lasting, enduring) in Jesus, then we will know His love and the love of the Father. From there, we can love others. It has to start individually with a relationship with Jesus.
So - am I abiding in Jesus? Much more than I used to. Am I loving others. So much it hurts. How do you love others? We did a Romans study in the Ranch small group. Chapter 15 holds some "one-another's" charges:
- Bear one another's weaknesses (v1)
- Build-up one another (v2)
- Spirit of unity with one another (v5)
- Hunger to worship with one another (v6)
- Accept one another (v7)
- Instruct or challenge one another (v14)
- Support one another (v26-27)
- Pray for one another (v30-31)
- Refresh one another (v32)
Do we do this? Honestly. And do we do this for non-believers as well as believers? And what happens when you look at this list and say to yourself - no one's doing that for me. Where do you turn? It had better be to Jesus. Abide in Him first - the rest will fall into place. Do I have the practice of it down perfectly - shoot no. I've had to learn a lot of hard lessons and make relationship sacrifices along the way. But do I have the concept down now - absolutely. And I can tell you - being in the wilderness when you have no clue is no fun. But being in the wilderness with Jesus is the closest thing I'll get to heaven this side of eternity.
Back to revival. I would LOVE to have a good old-fashioned "tent revival" at the ranch this fall. Get outside of those walls at GCC. Let the passers-by be sparked by our love for each other and Jesus. And it would be even better to see TRUE revival take place at GCC. Maybe we should include a squirrel....If you've never seen this video - it's a classic by Ray Stevens.