Summary: 4th in a 7-part series on revival in ourselves, our churches and our community.
A Heart Ready For Revival
Fourth in the series: Revival – Reviving Me, Reviving the Church & Reviving Our Community
Perth Bible Church August 5, 2007 AM Rev. Todd G. Leupold
Show video: “A Man Fell In A Hole” (bluefish.tv).
I think it’s fair to assume that all of us, at one time or another, have and likely will again (perhaps many times) feel as if we too have fallen into a hole from which we cannot escape and nobody seems either willing or able to lift us out. We stop trying to jump out, or crawl our way up the sides. We give up hope and instead embrace despair and pity. Our focus turns from thriving in life, to simply surviving, to expectantly and statically just waiting for it all to come to a final end. Our lungs still breathe, our heart still beats, the sun continues to rise and fall, birds continue to sing, children gleefully laugh, but within we feel like the living dead. Our heart continues to pump blood, but it no longer pumps vitality, hope, dreams, or ambition. Like the elderly lady in the famous 80s commercial, we’ve fallen and we can’t get up!
At other times, we are not the one in the hole, but the potential rescuer who happens upon the scene. We have been presented the God-given opportunity to lead another to new life, new hope, new dreams and strength. However, rather than excited at this prospect, we find ourselves nervous and uncertain. Is it really my place? Who am I to help someone else when I have so many of my own problems? What if this person deserves or is meant to be in that hole?
What if I try to help but fail – won’t I just be making it worse by giving the person false hope? This person already obviously has enough problems, what if in trying to help I unintentionally offend or hurt her? What if I try to help and end up falling in myself? Surely someone else will come along who is much better able to help than I! So, like we saw in the video, rather than real help we give platitudes and advice that do nothing.
Consider with me, if you will, another story that Lois shared with me some time ago:
An out-of-towner accidentally drives his car into a deep ditch on the side of a country road. Luckily a farmer happened by with his big old horse named Benny. The man asked for help. The farmer said Benny could pull his car out. So he backed Benny up and hitched Benny to the man’s car bumper.
Then he yelled, “Pull, Nellie, pull.” Bennie didn’t move.
Then he yelled, “Come on, pull Ranger.” Still, Bennie didn’t move.
Then he yelled really loud, “Now pull, Fred, pull hard.” Benny just stood there.
Then the farmer nonchalantly said, “Okay, Benny, pull.” Benny pulled the car out of the ditch.
The man was very appreciative but curious. He asked the farmer why he called his horse by the wrong name three times. The farmer said, “Oh, Benny is blind, and if he thought he was the only one pulling he wouldn’t even try.”
Friends, whether we are the one in the hole or the one gazing upon the one in the hole, we need Jesus to defibrillate, or electrify, our hearts. We need hearts ready for revival!
Recite 2 Chronicles 7:14 (and repeat)
We learned last week that our biggest obstacle to a revived life is our unconfessed and hidden sin. We further learned that the key to hurdling this obstacle is our willingness to humble ourselves before the Lord. This morning, we will learn how we do this, how we can and must prepare our hearts to be ready for revival.
There are 3 very important things we must do in order to prepare our hearts for revival.
I know this is true, both because the Bible tells me so and also because I too have lived in that hole. I, too, have gone through times of giving up. I, too, have tried all the things that don’t help. And I, too, have experienced the joy and new life of being delivered from that hole. And not just once.
Some, but not most of you, know that I struggle with a few health issues that will remain with me as long as I inhabit this body. One of these is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. A common and natural side effect when the fatigue is allowed to reach a certain point is clinical depression. Anyone who has ever dealt with this themselves or in a loved one understands how dark and dank a hole this can be. Those who haven’t, truly have no idea. Obviously, it’s not something I choose to dwell on or talk about much. I’m still far more blessed than ’cursed’ in my life! I mention it now, because I want you to know I understand what it is like. I am intimately familiar with that hole. I am also equally intimately familiar with being lifted out of that hole by Jesus Christ!